Think about the favorite boss or manager that you have had. What sets them apart? Chances are, they were a good listener, considerate, able to build rapport, & inspire others. They know how to be a leader at work instead of just being a boss!
Well, everybody can learn this skill! We have been conditioned to think that leadership at work can only be attained through the position of power. However, the truth is that real leadership can come from anywhere & can be developed as a skill. It’s not your job title that enables strong leadership – it’s the commitment to create positive changes in yourself & in others.
Being a leader in the workplace is a heavy hat to wear, but it can benefit you in exceptional ways. When a group of people look up to you, whether you are a leader in a formal capacity or not – your confidence is bound to surge. Therefore, instead of grinding along and waiting each day to end, you will extract more remarkable results from the same hours, cut through the clutter of to-dos & focus on how to get accurate results!
What Is True Leadership At Work?
You can probably think of great leaders like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Nelson Mandela, etc. They are leaders beyond business. So, what’s the difference between how to be a leader at work & in other situations? Being a leader at work includes a certain set of skills which anyone can develop with hard work & practice.
In order to be a leader at work, one needs the following:
Employees often look out for themselves & their immediate coworkers. They certainly do not have the company’s values at heart. While it might not seem important, you’d be surprised how rare it is to find employees who can verbalize the goals & beliefs of the company they work for.
This is why leaders are more than employees – they embody the company’s vision. A true leader deeply understands the company’s mission & believes in its core values, thus encouraging employees to do the same!
Also Read: Leadership Values
Leaders don’t get far if others follow them. When employees keep the company’s cultural mainstays at the forefront of everything they do, they are in a better position to influence others.
Well, this is often where the leadership work begins – not in an executive office, but out in the field: creating strong connections & creating goodwill, which is based on a genuine interest in others.
– Emotional Intelligence
The ability to understand employees’ feelings & reciprocate the same in kind while controlling your emotions is what an emotionally intelligent leader comprises.
Emotional intelligence needs deep self-awareness, social awareness, empathy, & humility – One can develop & practice it efficiently!
Thus, an emotionally intelligent leader will make changes in the workplace & make others follow them.
How To Be A Leader At Work: Tips & Strategies
You don’t need to be an executive/ manager to be a leader at work. No matter what walk of life you come from, you can implement the following steps to learn to become a leader.
1. Focus On Yourself
Being a leader begins on an individual level. After all, the only thing you can control in your life is YOU. Therefore, before seeking a promotion or management opportunities, look at yourself first!
Ask Yourself: Do you display the skills & traits required in a good leader? If not, are you willing to put the time & effort into developing them?
Well, our suggestion would be to commit to CANI, i.e., Constant And Never-Ending Improvement. It is both for soft skills, like communication & hard skills, like learning new tools.
2. Add Value
When you are thinking about the skills to work on, concentrate on what will add the most to your organization.
Think about it: Does your company require some specific certification/ knowledge of a particular software? Would it be helpful to work on your email writing skills or to become an excellent public speaker for client presentations?
Exceed your expectations, demonstrate your capabilities, & people will notice you when the time for promotions arrives.
3. Work On Emotional Fitness
Extraordinary leaders bring certainty in uncertain situations. That doesn’t mean that you will have all the answers. However, you do have some inner conviction that you can find the solution & move forward.
The key to emotional fitness is to be ready for anything & everything. When you bring creativity, humor, & curiosity to stressful situations/ circumstances, others will naturally turn to you when things become chaotic/ difficult.
4. Practice Self-Awareness
It isn’t just businesses that have a brand identity. Every employee has their own ‘work brand’ depending on their strengths & weaknesses & the ways they can contribute to the company.
Moreover, it’s vital to be aware of your work brand to develop leadership at work. The best leaders are more self-aware. They always ask questions about their work performance, thus taking feedback very seriously.
5. Adopt A Growth Mindset
True leaders also use their self-awareness & insight to consistently challenge themselves to grow. As a leader, you view setbacks & criticism not as catastrophic roadblocks but as a way to improve yourself & the situation.
Moreover, you are constantly honing your skills & developing new ones. This is what we call a growth mindset & it’s really important if one wishes to become a leader at work.
When you are constantly striving to better yourself, you are able to give & become more than you ever thought possible, thus defying the odds, setting a new standard, & stepping up to create the future you want.
6. Support Others
Do you motivate others to speak up? Do you publicly recognize your employees when they do an excellent job? A true leader is a great facilitator!
As a leader, you must look for greatness in your colleagues & listen ardently to what they have to say rather than giving your opinion over & over again. In addition, if you disagree with them, discuss it with them constructively. They also excel at building trust & creating rapport because a true leader understands that when employees are rewarded for progress & honored consistently, their drive to improve also increases.
7. Be Innovative
Thriving companies/ organizations are innovative. It doesn’t matter if you work for a tech company or any other organization – industries that find a way to differentiate themselves with unique ideas are the ones that survive in the long run.
Thus, if you are wondering how to become a leader at work, look no further than your own imagination & innovation. Contribute creative ideas & improve your company’s bottom line – it will help you & the organization in the long run!
8. Think Strategically
Being a leader at work needs resourcefulness in accomplishing your personal & professional goals. This doesn’t imply doing more with less. Instead, it means thinking strategically & being goal-oriented.
Individually, it implies having the plan to get you to your goals & having the determination to enact it. However, for a team, it means recognizing the potential in everyone & knowing how to delegate to effectively utilize your team’s strengths.
Remember that strategic thinking skills are a method to add value to your organization – the ultimate goal of leadership at work!
Being a good leader at work takes time. And it is not just about the position you are in; it applies to every employee & every other walk of life. Although some people are naturally inclined to have good leadership skills, it is something that can be learnt & improved upon.
Thus, with hard work, dedication, & perseverance, you can be a leader at work, irrespective of your job role or position. After all, leadership skills are inculcated & they aren’t just limited to leaders in the workplace!