Research shows that leadership is a skill that can be developed. It's not just an innate skill we are born with. This means there's hope for all of us to become kick-ass leaders!
Time and time again I have seen, and it has been shown, that technical capabilities aren't the most important skills to have for sustainable leadership - there are other crucial skills to develop such as being an effective listener, being compassionate, practicing empathy, learning how to motiavate employees, being an inspiration, effectively delivering feedback and the list goes on...there are probably some skills that have already popped into your mind too - are they technical? Chances are they're not.
But wait, why? What about all the things we were taught in school? Crunching numbers and knowing theories can be helpful but that's all they are - theories! Where is the bridge from the textbook to the human? We have a wealth of theoretical intelligence, but what about human intelligence? I mean this is the literal context of understanding what makes people tick, what gets them motivated, what do their emotions mean - and how can you leverage all this to channel it for the greater good (team, organization, or the world in general). When you uncover these deeper insights you naturally become a more effective leader beacuse you know how to work WITH your people, not just have them work FOR you. Being a leader is all about working with people, so naturally it makes sense that we'd need to take some time and turn some attention to this area.
Here are 5 ways you can level up your leadership skills:
1. Set Team Values - values are the guiding principles of how your team interacts and operates. It allows for easier decision making (knowing what to prioritize) and allows you as a leader to trust them more, so you don't have to watch their every move.
2. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence - the fact is, we are emotional beings. When you understand your own emotions as a human, you'll naturally be able to understand other's emotions and it'll allow you to make more informed decisions for you and your team. This is really a game changer for your leadership skills.
3. Adopt a growth mindset - having a growth mindset means you're open to learning and change. You don't fear failure but rather welcome it as an opportunity to learn something new and be better next time. When you allow this for yourself, you'll then transfer it over to your team and see mistakes from a totally different perspective! This doesn't mean you let your team off the hook but rather take the learning and address the gap. Research shows this makes us more resilient in the face of challenges & setbacks!
4. Be Authentic - this is a BIG one. Your team needs to feel like they trust you! So many leaders today put on a facade that they are a tough cookie and nothing gets to them. They think this is what leads employees to feel safe and secure in the team - WRONG! Leaders need to show some authenticity, some of their human side! In short, we don't trust people who don't feel human.
5. Have Fun - find a personal outlet that allows you to have fun! Simply put, having fun affects your short term and long term mood. Having fun makes us feel happy. When we feel happy we are more optimistic, rational, and engaged in our life - this translates directly over to us as leaders. Many of us have forgotten how to really let loose and have fun so here are a few ideas for you:
a) have a solo dance party (put on some headphones and take 5-10 mins for yourself, even if you have to go in the closet)
b) read a book on a topic that deeply engroses you (I do not mean a developmental book, I mean like fiction. Turn to Harry Potter if you need!) Get lost in the story.
c) put on a really funny movie, comedy set or podcast and LAUGH YOUR A$$ OFF!
Hopefully you can try your hand with these tips & tricks. These lead to progress in your career and footprint as a leader where teammates will work more effecitvely, produce better output, be happier, and more innovative. These also have a huge impact on in your personal life too!
Now I'm off to have my own 10 minute dance party!