You can be a leader even if you are not officially appointed or served as a director. In everyday life, at school, or at work, a leader is a person who is able to provide examples, guidance, and direction. A true leader is defined by his character and actions, not by his position. In order to become the best leader you can be, work on improving your skills, balancing authority and compassion, and being able to prove to your team that you are a leader worthy of trust.
Part 1 of 3: Developing Leadership Traits
Step 1. Be a confident person even though there are things you don't know
Try to maintain good posture, make eye contact when communicating, and use body language when you want to emphasize something important. Demonstrate confidence and rely on the ability to lead a team to achieve a common goal. If you can't answer a question, say it honestly without appearing nervous or feeling inferior.
- Imagine the impression a team member would get if you said, "I don't know" while looking down and sounding nervous. Now, compare that to the impression you get when you say, "I don't know the answer, but I'll look into this and answer your questions" while standing up straight and making eye contact with the person asking the question.
- Ignorance does not mean weakness. Leaders who are not confident and don't want to admit mistakes are not good leaders.
- Remember that confidence and arrogance are two very different things. Honestly admit that you don't know and never feel superior to anyone else.
Step 2. Work on expanding your knowledge in your area of expertise
Whatever your title, sales team manager or principal, take every opportunity to increase your knowledge. A good understanding of the subject at hand makes you more confident and more trusted by team members. Being a know-it-all is impossible, but they'll doubt your abilities if you always get a "don't know" answer to every question they ask.
- Things will get worse if you don't know the right answer, but try to answer by providing the wrong information. This makes team members distrust you.
- For example, before organizing a charity event at a school to raise funds, read the event organizing guide on the website.
- If you are in charge of a production division, study in detail about the products produced, attend professional competency development workshops, and read articles on the latest technologies and programs relevant to your job.
Step 3. Find a more experienced mentor
The opportunity to develop yourself is still open even though you are the highest leader. Look for role models who have exemplary leadership. Invite him for coffee or lunch together. Ask if he is willing to mentor and guide you in the long term.
- Look for role models who have overcome challenges and achieved similar goals. For example, if you are a woman in high school or college, attend a seminar delivered by a woman who is a director.
- You may feel hesitant to ask someone to mentor you, but don't worry. Find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve, show interest in their success, and then ask them to give you advice.
- In addition to taking advantage of opportunities to learn from people who are more experienced, you yourself must be a mentor to the members of the team you lead.
Step 4. Learn how to resolve conflicts
If there's a big fight between team members, remind them to learn to control their emotions. If needed, ask them to calm down. Before deciding how to resolve the conflict, find out what triggered it.
- Try to understand the perspective of each team member who is having a disagreement and be objective. Invite them to meet to think of a solution so that they can determine a solution that is beneficial for both parties.
- For example, you have an advertising printing business. The customer canceled the order due to a typo in the draft ad. This infuriated the salesperson with the ad drafter because the commission was lost and they got into a fight. Ask them to stop fighting and then calm down. Emphasize that anger is unacceptable behavior and ask them to implement a new system of double-checking their work so that the same problem doesn't happen again.
- In the work environment, involve the personnel department to resolve conflicts between employees.
Part 2 of 3: Demonstrating Effective Leadership
Step 1. Be assertive, but friendly
As a leader, you must apply clear rules and boundaries. Team members will ignore you if they can't balance authority and good manners.
When announcing a rule, explain to all team members how important it is. Instead of shouting, "Don't waste paper", tell the team, "Print the documents that are really needed. Stationery costs continue to increase and the company's profits decline"
Step 2. Make a firm decision, instead of doubting yourself
Be firm in your decision, but don't be authoritarian. Before making a decision, gather as much information as possible, listen to the opinions of team members, and engage them in discussions. When the opportunity for discussion is over, make a firm decision.
- For example, you and your friends are arguing about what activities to do tonight. When team members argue with each other and reject ideas put forward, someone stands up and says, "Guys, what needs to be done is _____". People with leadership qualities are able to read situations when the team needs to be directed and then make the most appropriate decisions.
- While leaders may make decisions on their own, there are times when you need to seek input from the team. Before deciding, ask yourself, "Will this decision demotivate me? Should I make the decision now or are there still things I need to discuss with other people?"
- Be flexible and be ready to change decisions if you get new information.
Step 3. Delegate tasks and explain job descriptions to team members in as much detail as possible
Don't underestimate the existence of a team or complete all tasks on your own. When assigning tasks to team members, state your expectations in detail and provide the necessary training. That way, you will lead a team that you can trust and rely on because every member is able to work well.
- Example of a clear expectation: "Complete a minimum of 5 installation projects according to the specifications stated in the contract by Friday this week". Example of unclear expectations: "Complete several projects to specifications requested by customers".
- When training team members, do the task you want to teach while explaining each step from start to finish. Accompany him when he starts work and give feedback in a polite manner if he makes a mistake.
Part 3 of 3: Gaining the Trust of the Team
Step 1. Show respect to the team
Be a leader who is able to be genuinely nice to all team members because they can sense that you really care about them. Listen wholeheartedly when they give their opinion, give praise to team members who have worked hard, and don't say anything rude. Remember that you are the decision maker. So, exhibit exemplary behavior for team members so that they behave the way you expect them to.
- Respecting the team doesn't mean following their behavior. You are responsible for determining what is best for the team.
- If a team member disagrees with you, listen to their arguments and then use the suggestions to improve your decision. If you don't accept the suggestion, let them know that you value their opinion, but that you decided on a different path.
Step 2. Keep promises to the team
Team members will not appreciate you if you break your promise. Even if you are a charismatic and knowledgeable leader, team members will feel disappointed and unwilling to provide support if you break your promise.
- In order to keep your promise, first determine what you can do and what you can't. Make realistic promises and make sure you promise something you can do.
- For example, if you don't yet know the availability of funds in the company's budget, don't promise staff raises. If you work as an employee in one of the organizations at the school, don't confirm that you will receive more funding before talking to the principal or financial manager.
Step 3. Ask for feedback from team members
When meeting the leader in a meeting, team members may feel intimidated and unwilling to offer constructive criticism. Instead of waiting for someone to speak, ask them to provide feedback to improve your performance as a leader.
Don't ask questions that require yes-no answers by asking if they like you or not. Instead, ask specific questions, for example, "In your opinion, what do I need to do to become a better leader?" or "Please provide feedback so I can improve my communication skills"
Step 4. Be a responsible person
Be consistent in your decisions and show responsibility when dealing with the consequences. If something goes wrong, remember that you are the decision maker. So, don't try to cover up your mistakes by blaming other people.
- Imagine you are working as a ship captain. The fate of the passengers is in your hands and you decide whether they will reach their destination or not.
- When goals are not achieved, good leaders will continue to struggle. Instead of giving up hope, use failure as a learning opportunity.
Step 5. Wear clothes that suit your role
Appearance can increase self-confidence. However, there is a difference between building an impression through appearances and maintaining an appearance to influence others. Your relationship with team members will be strained if you dress simply to impress others or dress inappropriately.
- For example, if you work as a restaurant manager in a five-star hotel, wear a suit and tie to work so that customers feel more valued and the staff will imitate you by always being well-dressed.
- If you're a high school student and are class president, wearing a neat shirt or dress to a meeting is more appropriate than wearing torn jeans and a tattered T-shirt.
- Having charisma is beneficial, but being trustworthy is far more beneficial than looking good. Genuine kindness makes you worth more than appearances.
- Provide support to team members to achieve personal goals and realize shared targets because the success of each individual contributes greatly to the success of the team.
- Do what you say! You will lose credibility as a leader if you are hypocritical. After setting the rules, make sure you apply them consistently.
- As a leader, you are always the center of attention. This means that your every move will be seen by others. Remember that personality and behavior are as important as knowledge and skills.
- Be careful when establishing close relationships with team members. Don't be favoritism or harm anyone.