Our leadership ability impacts every aspect of our life.
Writer and leadership expert John Maxwell calls our personal capacity for leadership the “law of the lid” – that is, our leadership ability is the “lid” that determines our level of effectiveness. The greater our ability to lead, the higher our potential for being successful.
When we elevate our leadership abilities we also increase our potential – we lift the “lid” on the results that we are capable of achieving. All of this can be done independent of our current position or job title. A real leader leads through influence, not title. All of us can develop our leadership abilities.
Here are five specific ways to become a better leader.
- Clearly develop your vision
[tweet bird=”yes”]Leadership is about having vision, and a willingness to stick to that vision[/tweet] in the face of obstacles and difficulties. You can develop your leadership abilities by clarifying your vision. What do you want to create, be or do in your life? What are your 5 year, 3 year and 1 year goals? What 3 priorities are most essential for you over the next 100 days? The stronger your vision, the stronger your leadership ability will be.
- Accept personal responsibility
It has been often said, “leadership can be lonely.” Why is this the case? A lot of it has to do with the fact that a true leader is willing to face responsibility instead of deflecting it. Develop your leadership skills by accepting personal responsibility for your life. Resist the urge to blame anyone or anything for what you have right now – as warranted as that blame may seem. The more you can stand unwavering in the face of responsibility the more capable you are to lead.
- Master your domain
Leadership expert Warren Bennis in his classic, On Becoming A Leader describes competence as a critical foundation of leadership. People follow those who have proven that they can repeatedly produce results. Start today to develop this skill by mastering the domain that you currently occupy. Become an absolute professional in what you are doing, right now. Competence is a habit. It is something that follows you wherever you go. You develop your leadership abilities by developing the reputation as a person that can deliver results.
- Confront the “brutal facts”
The concept of “confronting the brutal facts” was introduced by writer Jim Collins in his best selling book Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…And Others Don’t. It originated from a conversation that he had with United States Navy Vice Admiral James Stockdale, the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. When asked how he survived, Stockdale described what Collins would later coin the “Stockdale Paradox”, that is, the ability to retain hope for the future while at the same time confronting the brutal facts of the present moment, no matter how painful those facts were. This ability, to confront the brutal facts of reality, Collins found, was also present in the greatest companies that the world has ever seen. Great leaders also have this ability. All of us can develop it right now by confronting our current reality. What do we need to change to get what we want? Do we ever lie to ourselves to avoid making a change? Confront your brutal facts and watch your leadership abilities soar.
- Develop your communication skills
Great leaders are great communicators, and great communication involves far more than just eloquence, and the ability to speak and write fluently. Communication mastery involves the art of listening, empathy, and understanding non-verbal cues and body language. Practice your communication skills by being present in every interaction that you have. As you develop your communication abilities you will improve your skills as a leader. This will benefit all aspects of your life.