Published on March 17th, 2017 | by Nancy F. Clark0
How To Become A Strong Leader Taking These Positive, Creative Steps
By Lisa Tomasi—
Not all of us feel that we are natural born leaders. But does that mean we can’t successfully lead? When I started my business I was excited about the future and confident in my unique ideas, my skills and my business plan. I was full steam ahead until it became time to form my team. For the first time I felt unsettled—how was I going to lead and inspire my new employees?
A quick bit of research put my mind at ease. It was clear that with work, practice and nurturing, leadership would become a muscle I could successfully build over time. I discovered 5 keys that together formed the cornerstone of my leadership journey:
1) Be a dreamer. Great leaders inspire others with both their passion and their action. They don’t have their head in the clouds but they dream big, set goals and pursue their future. Driven by a clear vision, they encounter road blocks with positivity and creativity. Tip: Be sure to clearly communicate your vision to all employees. Articulating your dream can be much more difficult that you’d think but is an important step in leading your team.
2) Level the playing field. Leaders don’t need an iron fist. A true leader is open to feedback, suggestions and ideas. They encourage creativity and believe every team member contributes to the success of the business. Establishing a mentoring program among employees that enables collaboration capitalizes on the creative potential of your employees. Mentor relationships should cross functions and levels of the organization. Partnering people that typically don’t work together is ideal. A solid mentoring program establishes open lines of communication, encourages out of the box thinking and is empowering for both the mentor and the mentee.
3) Expect mistakes. Have you ever heard of an inspiring, indecisive leader? Nope, they don’t exist. A leader analyzes a situation, makes a decision and stands behind it fully. But she is also quick to recognize a mistake and is ready to change course. Leaders must take risks to ensure that innovation lives and breathes at the organization. Some of the best business lessons are learned from “failures” so don’t hesitate to follow your gut and power ahead prepared to navigate any outcome.
4) Happiness counts. Leaders recognize that happy employees make better employees. Giving back to the community is a great way to build a loyal, fulfilled workforce. Set up many opportunities and venues for employees to get involved in community service and lead by example. Yes, offering time off and other benefits for employee involvement is great but nothing beats watching the CEO get his hands dirty. When employees see that social responsibility and community are priorities for the C-Suite, it’ll build a lasting relationship built on the foundation of shared values and demonstrate how a fulfilling work life looks for all employees to emulate.
5) Dare to be different. There is no one size fits all leadership style that works for everyone. Draw upon your intrinsic strengths, recognize your weaknesses and bring a critical eye to your own leadership style. There is much to be learned from successful leaders past and present. Read and take note of the lessons and anecdotes that speak to you. Some keys to their success may be tweaked to work for you. You don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs, you need to be first, best and only you!
You’ve put in the work but how do you know if you’re doing a good job? Just take a look around you. Is your business buzzing with activity? Do your employees seem happy? Are projects moving forward? If so, you’re on the right track!
So, put your self-doubt on the back burner and embrace your role as leader. Becoming a strong leader is work but you’ll find that the exercise itself will be fulfilling and the end result will pay dividends far into the future.
Lisa Tomasi is President and CEO of YouGiveGoods.
Article photo by iStock- Petar Chernaev