Career 101: How You Can Become a Better Leader

Written by Channon Gray

When you’re studying there will be plenty of time to decide what you want to be doing with your life afterward. Will you decide to travel for a while, move back home to save money, or get kick-started with your dream career as soon as graduation has happened? All goals will depend on you and what you want to do, as well as what kind of timeline you are looking at. However, all goals will have something in common, in that they are going to help shape your future, and it can be for good or for bad; make sure that you choose wisely.

With that in mind, it is worth looking at what you can learn from each experience. After all, the more that you can learn and grow will impact your future and what you are able to do. One thing that can be a really great thing to look to develop in your next steps in life, is leadership skills. In all aspects of your life, from career, teamwork, family life, and social life, leadership skills can be really important. They can help boost a career, as well as play a part in achieving your dreams in other aspects of life. So looking for ways to learn how to be a good leader is a vital part of adulting after student life. It will help to go onward in life, for sure.

What are some of the words that you would use to describe a strong leader? Intelligent, confident, or perhaps assertive? There are many different factors that play a role in being a good leader, but when you can hone those skills, they can really help you to be the most high-achieving, at work or at play. It is important to note that a strong leader isn’t all about smashing targets and making sure that everyone is playing their part. It is all about being a good team player too and helping those around you to do well, stretch themselves, and develop their skills and talents too. So as you may be thinking about your next stages of life after school, University, or a change in career, here are some of the tips that could help you to develop some great skills that will, in turn, help you to become a strong leader.

Understand Leadership Style

You need to understand how you currently lead, as well as the kinds of leadership styles that are out there. What are some of the positive things about how you lead a team? What are some of the negative? Are there areas that stress you out when it comes to being a leader? Or is it something that comes really naturally to you? When you understand how you lead, you can develop good things, as well as in the areas that could be better. Not one leadership style is best; it is all about what works for you, as well as for the people around you. Some teams do better with clear direction from a leader with rules in place. However, some teams would not thrive with a leader like that. So, learn about the different styles and look at what you are currently doing.

Educate Yourself

In a similar way, you can educate yourself about leadership styles, as well as the things that are going to help you to improve. Some people are natural born leaders or are described as a ‘people person,’ and they can naturally talk and lead people. But there are many others that may need some more formal help with this kind of thing. That is why educating yourself on leadership styles, or looking for something like an online degree program site to help you with a formal leadership course, could really help you. It is something that can look great on your resume, as well as helping you on the career path that you want to be on.

Practice Creativity

Being able to stimulate your team with their minds is one of the best ways to achieve great things with them. They can grow and develop, and you can all learn from each other, which can be a really beautiful thing. Intellectual leadership can be really transformational for a team, so it is worth looking into, much more than any authoritarian style of leadership. You need to help foster creativity, as well as encouraging creativity within your team. New challenges for your team is important so that they can make good things happen. Supporting them in the process is a key part of being a good leader too. One way to do that is to offer challenges to them, but make it so that they will be pushed and challenged, but you know that the goal is within reach. This helps the team to be stretched, but they will still achieve. When you set tasks that are too unrealistic, then it means that they will get discouraged as they’re not seen as achieving anything.

Be a Role Model

The term role model can be a little overused in today’s society, as it seems that anyone with an influence over anybody has to be a good role model. But really, for a person in a leadership position, you need to be a positive role model to your team. If you were an overweight and obviously unhealthy personal trainer, for example, are you going to get clients that want to sign up with you? They want people to practice what they preach, and not be a ‘do as I say and not as I do’ kind of person; that is not an effective way to lead. When you emulate positive attributes it really shows and it helps the team to want to follow suit.

If you aren’t in a position of authority right now, then it could be that you can just look at the leaders that you would like to emulate. From that, you’ll be able to understand the impact that a positive role model has on someone that follows that person or sees them as a leader.

Be Passionate

Like being a role model, showing how passionate you are about something makes a difference. Because just as you wouldn’t want an unhealthy trainer, you aren’t going to feel enthused and focused with a leader that doesn’t seem to care about what they are doing. If they are in charge and they don’t seem to care, then why should you? It really follows on from being a good role model, as the two can be combined. Having a genuine passion for what you are doing and enthusiasm for it to carry on and get things done will show, and help your team in a good way. So make sure that you do get into doing the things that you are passionate about so that it really can be a genuine emotion that you show to the team.

Stellar Communication Skills

If you want to be a leader that helps things to change, or even become a transformational leader, then being a good communicator is key. Through your communication you should be able to express a variety of things, from the words you say, how well you listen, as well as what you are thinking through non-verbal communication. If what you do is confusing, then the people hearing the message will get confused. Likewise, you should use your skills in communicating to others to show care and concern too, rather than just using communication to talk to people about what they are doing. When you are approachable, it makes people much more likely to feel like they can talk to you, and that will be a much better thing for the team as a whole.

Rewards and Recognition

From a young age, it is obvious that many of us do like to get recognition and rewards from the things that we do well. Right from being toddlers we learn that we like to be recognised when we do something well (but hopefully it will be things that have moved on from a reward chart for tying our shoes)! We all feel happy and appreciated when we are told that we’ve done something well or acknowledged that we are a valuable member of the team. And it is obvious to us all that when we feel happy, at home or at work, we are going to do those things again as we know that they’ve been appreciated. Or we’ll do more or try harder next time too. So as a leader that is looking to transform a team and be a positive influence, showing your team appreciation and rewards can be a really great thing (plus, it is something that translates over into personal lives too).

Whether you are looking to be in a leadership position for your career, or just want to hone your skills as you apply for jobs, improving your traits and skills as a leader can be a really great way to go. Is there anything else that you would add to the list?

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About the author

Channon Gray

I'm Channon and yes, it's spelt wrong, but that is interesting right? I'm 23 years young. I like to write, create art and travel. Cornish bumpkin who studied in London then Cambridge. I'm now a Postgraduate Student, Stationery Addict and all-round Life Enthusiast.

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