Your Inner Leader
Everyone knows that leadership skills are essential in the modern workplace. These skills are not just reserved for CEOs like Richard Branson and Marissa Mayer. Everyone has the potential to become a leader, but a lack of confidence or uncertainty often holds them back. Learning to manifest your inner leader will have countless benefits for your career and self-development, even if your badge or position never says the word “Manager.”
1. Fail Every Day
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Confucius
Failure is an essential part of growing into a great leader. You learned to ride a bike. You fell over a few times, scuffed your knees. But you got up and learned how to do it. Through that failure you learned how to keep your balance. Now riding a bike is second nature.
Failure is only what you perceive it to be. So go out and fail at something every day. Then learn from it. Embrace the new experiences many little failures bring. You’ll be more humble and open to learning than you’ve ever been.
Whether it’s writing an email, using the wrong tone of voice in a sales call, or messing up a presentation to the board, no one is perfect, and you can throw the old adage that “great leaders are born” in the bin, too.
Reflect, review, learn.
2. Lean into Your Fears
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
The world’s a scary place. Your boss is scary. Delivering a presentation to the board is terrifying. If something doesn’t scare you, then you probably won’t learn from it. All great leaders have had to face their fears at some point in their lives.
To start manifesting your inner leader today, lean into your fears. Start with a task that scares you a little bit. This might be something as simple as picking up the phone to speak to a manager about your idea. See your fear as a challenge you need to overcome.
Got some bigger fears you need to overcome? Get guidance and support. You’re not on your own with facing your fears. Tap into your network, and you’ll be seeing how much you can achieve when you step outside of your comfort zone.
A good leader knows their fears, but doesn’t shy away from confronting and developing them.
3. Think. Speak. Inspire Like a leader.
Want to become a better leader? Make that your biggest goal. Athletes live and breathe their sport; they perfect their craft constantly to make it to the top. Big effort reaps big rewards.
Find whoever you admire and see what they do and how they do it. Then make it your own.
Stuck in a situation? Think how your leadership role model would handle it. Do what you think they would. After a while you should be asking yourself what you would do. Trust your instinct; it’s right about a lot of things!
Learn how to be mindful and how to speak like a leader. Make decisive, firm decisions. Consult your team and colleagues, take on their views and balance it with your own. Be humble, but strong. A good leader focuses on being constructive in their feedback and their approach to work.
Inspire through your actions. Be passionate and engaged. Don’t sweat the small stuff. People will see your unshakable self-belief and be inspired themselves.
4. Know Your Stuff
“Knowledge on its own is nothing, but the application of useful knowledge, now that is powerful.” – Rob Liano
You need to be an expert.
To remain the expert in the room, you need to keep learning. Investing in a course or qualification is one route, but there are many books and free resources out there at your disposal. Develop a hunger for learning. Read as much as you can, digest it, and put it to use.
There are times when you will be humbled by another expert’s knowledge. Learn what you can from them and put that to use.
True expert leaders don’t consider themselves experts and as such continue on a journey of self-discovery and growth right through their lives.
5. Find a Mentor Who Has Their Own Mentor
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Frank A. Clark
If you really want to bring out your inner leader, you need a mentor who has a mentor. Being a leader is a never-ending learning process. Even the most successful leaders have mentors, who themselves have mentors. Remember that every great leader has skills and habits they’ve learned by working with and observing other leaders.
Why look for someone who has their own mentor? You’ll benefit from years of knowledge and support. You’ll get continual learning from those who are wiser, who have had their share of success and failure, and dealt with both in a way Rudyard Kipling would approve of.
When working with a mentor, you need someone who reflects your ideals and is someone you want to be but who also has the ability and is willing to challenge your beliefs. This relationship doesn’t need to be intense. Your mentor can be someone you turn to for advice every few weeks, each month, or once or twice a year over coffee or when you have a specific need for guidance.
You will need to learn how to deal with the feedback from your mentor. Objective and constructive feedback is the best kind. You will get negative feedback. Don’t get emotional. Reflect and see how you can improve from it. The best mentors will lead you down a path where you discover the answer for yourself, rather than telling you what to do.
Remember It’s a Process.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but right now you can start taking the steps to unleash the leader in you. Change happens in small steps, and when you’re inspiring others to take action, delivering great business results, and end up mentoring people yourself, you’ll know you’ve achieved something.
Be selfless and patient in your pursuit of exceptional leadership. It’s worth it.
“Being a leader is a never ending learning process.” -Maurice De Castro