It’s a buzzword seen all over LinkedIn profiles and resumes: Leader. But what does being a leader really mean in today’s world? How do you become a true leader among your peers?
If my experience has taught me anything, embodying these core attributes will help set the stage for earning the title:
Ask for feedback. The best leaders are often the most approachable people in the office. When your team knows you are willing to listen, willing to fight for them and willing to make changes to better your approach to how you manage, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Be accountable. True leaders account for their actions as well as those around them. They point the finger at themselves before turning to blame others.
Challenge limitations. Natural leaders tend to challenge the status quo and don’t accept the concept of “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Those who can separate themselves from the heard tend to continually test their own boundaries and push for excellence.
Continually educate yourself. Adapt or die. The best leaders are the ones who not only learn from their own experiences, but from those around them. Embrace change, seek opportunities for development and look for teachable moments in all aspects of business and personal growth.
Dream big. Nobody likes boring.
Earn respect and trust. Should you expect a certain level of respect off the jump? Yes. But don’t let that get in the way of fostering a mindset that reminds you to work to keep and grow that level of respect. Experience and tenure earn respect. But you still must work to earn trust.
Lead by example. “Do as I say, not as I do” is not an acceptable answer… ever. If you’re not willing to do it yourself, you shouldn’t ask anyone else to do it in your place.