In this era of technology we are all either following people or being followed. Think about it for a minute, we are in some sort of popularity contest on social media, trying to get more followers on Instagram or Twitter, posting our lives on Facebook, trying to get more endorsements on LinkedIn and so forth…but do we really know how to lead people in real life? Let’s find out.
According to Dunham and Pierce, “a leader is the person in charge of a project or a team, regardless of what their title may be. That person might be referred to as an owner, a manager, a V.P., or any other title that confers power or responsibility…”
This does not mean that every boss is a leader or every leader is a CEO. For instance, you can be your football team leader or the person who people follow at work, in the gym or in your household. As long as these people, your followers, see you as an example because you truly care for them, then you could be considered a leader.
A lot has been written regarding leadership. Some authors think leaders are born and some others express that leaders are developed. While most leaders show similar personality traits such as extroversion, a natural ability to persuade and motivate people and a genuine care for their fellow human beings; leadership skills can certainly be developed.
So based on my work in the Human Resources and Training and Development field for seven years, these are my top 5 steps to unlock your leadership potential:
- Become a positive influencer in your environment. Remember what they say about energy givers and energy takers. What kind of person do you want to be, the one who is always complaining about their circumstances or the one who can see the bright side of things and considers problems as opportunities to learn and be better?
- Be authentic. Sure everyone says “be yourself”, but does that actually make a difference? I can assure you it does. Someone once said “be yourself because everyone else is taken”. Authenticity happens when your mind, heart and intuition are working together and when you do what you stand for, what you believe in and when you follow your dreams. This life is too short to pretend.
- Work towards a common mission. This pretty much translates as “help your team members”. Whether you are a business owner, the CEO or the new employee in the company; when you show that you truly care, people will start acknowledging your effort. Also, there is nothing more rewarding than a sincere “thank you” from one of your colleagues or subordinates.
- Let people do what they do best. Not only are you showing selflessness when you let others shine but you are also making them happy. As I say, when you work doing what you love, chances are you will succeed because it does not feel like work at all. Hence, if your team succeed, you will certainly succeed as a leader and they will all perform better plus you will achieve your goals.
- Build trust and nurture relationships. When your team becomes more than your co-workers and you start seeing them as your second family, you know you are on the right track. Family members care for each other, they trust each other and they tend to be more open to receiving feedback from one another, it is the same with the leader and their followers. And please do not get me wrong! This does not mean you have to like everyone. I can assure you there are relatives you don’t get along with. You don’t have to be friends with everybody (even if you are their leader) but you still need to build relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
In a nutshell, if you follow these 5 steps and practice them on a daily basis, I am sure you will be able to unleash the leader inside you, whether you want to lead people at work, in your household or just have more followers on Social Media!
Jacqueline Moreno Zarate is a trainer at Bridge Business College