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the Different Aspects of Leadership + How They Fit Into Your Life
it may be cliché to say, but leaders are not born—they’re made
Nidhi Singh || 9.21.2018
Leadership, just like most other professional and social skills, is all about commitment and dedication to improvement over time. It is not something that happens overnight or simply by attending a two-day seminar. This is something that I have come to understand in my last few semesters in college, and I have been able to use my knowledge to narrow down 12 aspects of leadership development that others might want to keep in their back pocket.
I reflected upon my personal leadership experiences and have pulled out different tools that fellow 20-somethings can use, not only to enhance their own self-awareness, but also the interpersonal skills needed to be a great leader.
It’s important to note that all these skills can only really be understood through elaboration and real-life practice. Nevertheless, this guide will hopefully enlighten those who aim to develop as a leader.
determining who you are as a leader
Understanding that who you are as a person and how you act as a leader are actually related and intertwined in so many different ways is incredibly important when you are growing as a leader. Once you come to terms with the type of person you are—as well as the type of person you hope to be—you can rise as a more self-aware and confident leader. This will push you to embrace both your leadership strengths and your weaknesses, and find ways to address both.
Another aspect of being an effective leader is understanding that diversity within your team brings countless benefits to the overall productivity of your group. Being able to invite and accept others of different backgrounds stems from the ability to be inclusive. When you try to accept everyone on your team for what makes them unique, you can use those differences to fuel creative and unique strategies to achieve your team’s goals. Further, your team will bond and be able to work more productively when you, as a leader, create an inclusive environment in which members feel safe and integral to.
overcoming stage fear
It is no secret that public speaking is a major part of any leadership role. It can be scary, and in a large organization or in life in general, you may feel like your voice isn’t heard. Building on your public speaking skills will not only make you feel more confident as a leader, but also allow you to voice your opinions and goals, and enable you to propose changes within the organization you are a part of.
thinking ahead + managing your time
In order to be an effective leader, it is essential that you are organized and on top of your work. The key to staying on top of your work is to plan ahead of your projects and managing your time wisely so you are not only being the most productive, but you can guide your team to be as well.
knowing how to deal with change
Being adaptable is an essential aspect of being a leader. Sometimes things may suddenly change on you or a new idea may spark you to deviate from the path you originally decided on. With that being said, you must be able to flow with the changes being thrown your way and remain calm in order to still be able to lead effectively and achieve your goals
dedicating yourself to serving others
No matter what sort of organization you are a part of, service is vital to effective leadership. When other team members know that you are dedicated to them and that they can count on you, this can make a world of difference.
identifying your passions + targeting advocacy
Another part of being a leader is understanding that you have the power to influence others and affect change within different communities. We all have things in our lives that we are very passionate about and causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Being able to identify the causes we want to advocate for and finding ways to align them with the goals of our larger organization allows us to build upon the platform we have created as leaders, start new conversations, and genuinely make a difference. Being able to implement service will allow you to use your position for the betterment of others and by extension, society as a whole. This will not only show others in your organization and the public that you are fully dedicated, but also allows you to do some good with the power that comes with appointed positions.
having the ability to bring followers to order
Though leading others is meant to be more inspiring than managerial, you still need to have the ability to bring order to your team. There will be many times when discussions or conversations are getting out of hand or the track you wanted to take the team on is not actually the direction things are going in. Being able to take a step back, remain calm, and guide others to some sort of consensus or conclusion with a plan in mind is key to handling high stress situations.
navigating controversial topics
Often as leaders we have to have tough conversations about different topics in order to make big decisions for the organization we are a part of. It is important to be able to still lead a productive conversation even when you are talking about topics that are potentially controversial or highly debated. Make sure to get the points of views of everyone involved, take time to access the situation fully, and decide the course of action that is not only aligned with your perspectives but also the organization’s, as well as what is fair and morally right.
following while leading
Another important aspect of being a leader is understanding that even though you may have an appointed position, you are still a member of a team. There will be times when others on your team have better suggestions or ideas for the tasks you have at hand and in those moments the key is to take a step back and let others take the lead. You want your followers to share the goals of the organization. Giving others ownership of projects and recognizing the strengths of others is how innovation happens.
owning your success
The last aspect of being a leader is giving yourself the time to celebrate all that you have accomplished. Reflect on all that you have learned, enjoy the success and progress you have had, and—because leadership requires ongoing upkeep—identify what areas still need a little more time to improve on.
As one can see, each of these aspects have their own place within leadership development. Of course, leadership varies depending upon the context you are the referring to and thus, the skills required between different contexts changes greatly. However, these are skills that can help someone start gaining their footing as a leader.
The biggest takeaway is that anyone can truly be a leader— as long as they work at it. It is not something that only a small percentage of people are cut out for. Believe in yourself, be committed, trust the process and know that leadership is, in fact, a journey. It is a personal and public-facing journey that will not only help you better know who you are as a person, but also hopefully allow you to affect change in other people’s lives and, ultimately, make the world a little bit better and a little more brighter.