Taking on a leadership role at work can be incredibly satisfying, but it’s not as easy as it may seem. If you’re stepping into a new position, or just looking to become a better leader, you have to examine your reasons for doing so.
First, redefine your definition of a leader. A leader is best judged by the accomplishments of those who work for and around them, not by their own accomplishments. Leadership is necessary at all levels of an organization; there should not just be someone at the very top telling everyone else what to do. If you’re only interested in a leadership role for selfish reasons, you won’t make a strong leader.
The most important part of taking on a leadership role is building relationships with those around you. Ask yourself these questions before stepping into your new role: “Who are the people I’ll be dealing with?” “What are their goals?” and “How can I be a positive force in their lives?” A strong leader puts others first and enables their team to do well.
The most successful leaders are ones who are supportive of those around them. Think of the wants and needs of your team members, and do your best to fulfill them. Taking on a leadership roles means putting others before yourself. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and help them draw on those to succeed in their work. When you see people on your team excelling, point it out. Make your team members feel valued for their accomplishments, and they’ll feel more satisfied in their role.
Understand that leadership does not look the same for everyone. The way you lead may be very different from the way someone else in your organization does. No matter what style of leadership works best for you, understand that the best leader is one that is genuine. Being your most authentic self will, in turn, help you to be the best leader. Take note of what you’ve liked and disliked about past managers you’ve had led. Try to incorporate those styles that you’ve liked in a way that is still natural to you.
The difference between a great leader and a not-so-great leader is the willingness to learn. Don’t step into a new position and assume you’ll succeed; take steps to ensure you’ll succeed.