Estimated reading time: 7 mins
A Guest Post by Lori Wade
If you want to make a good leader, you are to work on your personal leadership strategy. It should be aimed at the systematic development of your leadership qualities and skills. This includes creating your plan of action, as well as understanding the methods of advancing the key skills and competencies of a leader, establishing a system of principles you are to follow, shaping your leadership style, working on your charisma, and getting rid of all the prejudices connected with your vision of leadership.
STEP1. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHO A LEADER IS
Before you start creating your action plan, it is essential to understand what you want to achieve. Many people have the wrong vision of leadership which is influenced by various myths about leaders. Here are the main pairs of opposed myths that you are to bust.
Some People Are Born to Be Leaders Vs. Everybody Can Make a Good Leader
No one can claim that there is a person who is born to lead others. The absurdity of such statements can be explained by nature vs. nurture debate, which hasn’t been finished up to these days. There are researchers who have proven that some personal qualities are inherited, that is given to us by ‘nature.’ Others believe that the major traits of our character are determined by environmental factors (nurture), such as our society, education, the parenting style used in the family, etc. We have enough scientific evidence that this is true as well (at least, partly.)
So, one way or another, even if you have had some leadership qualities on the genetic level, there is still no guarantee that you will be able to develop them in the environment you are raised in. As opposed to that, if you haven’t inherited any of such qualities, nobody can be sure that you will not obtain them during your lifetime.
So, is there an opportunity for everyone to become a successful leader? This is not completely so. Leadership is formed under certain circumstances. Above all, this is your desire to work for it.
Every Top-Manager Is a Leader and Vs. Every Leader Is a Top-Manager
It is hard to deny that having leadership skills is one of the reasons for professional success. However, it doesn’t mean that every top-manager is a good leader. The history of the corporate world has plenty of examples of people who were forced to lead others, and a result lost everything at once. They failed because they lacked the required skills and could not see the flaws in their own management styles. Often, top-managers act from the position of power. They don’t lead; they force. Besides being counterproductive for the performance of the company, it stresses our all the involved parties, including the managers themselves. Remember that leadership presupposes positive changes, encouraging, constant improvement, and development. Also, you don’t have to be a top-manager to be a leader. Many employees can take responsibility for others and demonstrate great decision-making skills.
Leaders Do Everything on Their Own Vs. Leaders Only Give Directions to Others
Both of these myths are partly true, but neither of them reflects reality to its fullest. First of all, all managers do a lot on their own. The fact whether such managers make good leaders depends on the reason why they do it. If you are forced to complete the majority of tasks without any assistance because you can’t delegate the responsibilities, you are not a leader. The responsibilities can be shared with other workers or third parties.
If you do everything on your own because you can’t motivate people to help you, you are not a leader either. What makes you a leader is the ability to sparkle the desire to work in your co-workers’ mind, as well as the ability to improve their performance. There are several of ways to get there; for example, Quiet Leadership. This is a whole discipline that allows you to achieve your goals without forcing people into doing things.
STEP 2. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOURSELF
When people want to change their lives for the better, they often start with their disadvantages: ‘I want to get rid of this or that habit,’ ‘I want to get less irritated with other people’s mistakes,’ ‘I want to stop procrastinating,’ etc. We will get there, but this is definitely not how you have to start defining yourself while writing your leadership strategy. Here are the stages of doing it in the right order.
What Are Your Strengths?
If you think that starting to evaluate your strong points first is a waste of time, you couldn’t be more wrong. One may argue that a person has to minimize the weaknesses to become a leader. It is true, but to make any positive changes, you are to have resources. These are your strengths, your knowledge, your skills, and your time. Are you hardworking? Are you communicative? Are you dedicated? Are you kind? You can use any positive trait of your personality to achieve success.
What Skills Do You Already Have?
As we have mentioned above, skills are among your resources, too. You have to make a proper list of them not to miss anything. The enumeration of your leadership skills is your number one priority at this stage, but don’t limit your list to those only. Many useful professional skills can make you more successful as an employee and, eventually, as a leader.
What Do Others Think about You?
This is a transition moment in your self-evaluation process. It allows you to go smoothly from your strong points to those that still need to be improved, as other people’s opinions about you can be both positive and negative. When you work on this part of your plan, try to be super objective. You can mention people’s opinion about your personal qualities, but only if it is relevant in this case.
What Skills Do You Need to Improve?
This is the easiest part of your plan. You probably know what you can and can’t do and what you still have to learn. The gap in leadership skills is relevant to 58% of companies. Try to become one of those who is going to change these stats for the better. If you still have doubts about what skills you might need to become a great leader, include ‘leadership research’ in your list.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
In this part, you are to write everything that can stand in your way. Everything you can change goes to the previous section. Here, you write everything that you can’t control. There can be some controversial issues. Consider whether you want to spend time on improving your disadvantages now. If yes, it is a skill you want to get (stop procrastinating, for example.) Otherwise, this is your weakness (constant procrastination.) Estimating weaknesses will allow you to manage the risks of your personal strategy.
STEP 3. GOALS – PRIORITIES – ACTION!
People, and especially leaders, have to think about the goals they set. Besides, it is very important to consider how long each goal will take you to achieve. To set goals for subordinates correctly, you must first learn to do it for yourself. It has been proven that people who write their goals down are much more successful than those who don’t. That is why you really have to create a list of goals in the written form. But where to start?
You have to subdivide your goals according to the spheres of your life. Don’t think that if you are going to write a leadership plan, you are only to consider the goals directly related to it. All the spheres of your life are interrelated, so the goals should be interrelated, too. In the process of setting your goals, it is crucial to prioritize each goal and action. You can’t spend forever on achieving them. So, be realistic. You will have to compromise some actions for the sake of the others.
Finally, after completing all the stages described above, you are going to write a precise action plan following the outline below:
- Strategic goal
Good leaders always think about those they are responsible for. It is not enough to have intentions to become a leader, even if they are quite serious. It is necessary to work hard to improve your leadership skills and create a powerful action plan. Mind that being able to lead other people implies learning to control yourself and practicing it regularly.
Lori Wade is a content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!