Leadership – it’s a skill, position and experience. Anglo-Saxon origins of the word come from ‘laedere’, meaning ‘people on a journey’. That’s why some of the most successful leaders take their team on professional and personal journeys that influence, motivate and enable the success of their business.
It can be equally challenging and rewarding, so to help you reflect and keep you on track, we’ve compiled 5 tips to becoming an extraordinary leader.
1. Be visionary
A difference between managers and leaders is that while managers set and measure goals, leaders create and drive a vision. What is the mission of your business? Where do you see your future and that of your employees? The process is just as important as the outcome. As a leader, you influence change, innovation and motivation. Extraordinary leaders use that ability and combine their passion and discipline to sustain and implement visionary strategies. Your vision will inspire employees and empower the business.
2. Stay disciplined
You may already be aware of the importance of staying organised as a leader, of being punctual and having excellent time management skills. But what about your sense of direction and purpose? How disciplined are you with your goals, even in the face of a challenge? Staying disciplined and adhering to your values and what your team expects from you is imperative for consistency and control. Extraordinary leaders recognise discipline as a form of responsibility, and implement it in all aspects of their position.
3. Consciously communicate
Effective communication is often overlooked by leaders, and can be their biggest downfall. But it’s not just about being clear, direct or honest. And it doesn’t just entail setting expectations, standards or implementing feedback. Extraordinary leaders communicate consciously, they are mindful in what they say, how they say it and who they say it to. Communication can be direct and indirect – words are powerful but so is your body language. Extraordinary leaders utilise conscious communication to facilitate trust, nurture relationships and discover new perspectives. Tailoring your communication style to the people you’re interacting with is also a sign of flexibility and emotional intelligence.
4. Exercise emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is crucial to leadership; it is just as, if not more important, than cognitive abilities or technical skills. Leaders who exercise emotional intelligence self-regulate, self-motivate and are incredibly self-aware. Understanding and controlling one’s own emotions enables the social skills and empathy needed to recognise, identify and react effectively to the emotions of others. Extraordinary leaders prioritise emotional intelligence with all stakeholders, as it instils respect, authenticity and the foundations for success.
5. Make decisions with confidence
Leaders are often looked to for guidance, order and control. Whatever decision or direction that you give must therefore be given with confidence – it is key to your delivering and competence. Extraordinary leaders lead by example, and know their attitude will be reflected within their team. Whether you need to take a risk, are following your instinct or dealing with a sensitive issue, making the decision with confidence demonstrates commitment and trust.