Being a leader is tough. You’re always under the gaze of your followers, held to a higher expectation than others, and regularly need to keep control of situations. It’s never easy, but great leaders come from struggle, not from simplicity. If you’re in a leadership position and find yourself needing some assistance, check out this list for some tips.
1. Honesty is always the best policy
If you can’t be honest with your followers, how can you expect them to be honest with you? Unless it’s a need to know basis, hiding information from your team is never a good idea. Who knows? Maybe they’ll offer some insightful thoughts on the issue at hand.
2. Responsibility is Key
Being responsible is another critical factor in being a leader. Responsibility means ensuring you follow through on your commitments, and taking the blame when it falls on you. Elon Musk works 100 hour weeks to ensure everything gets done. His company is now the most forward thinking in the technology industry.
3. Be Observant
Know what’s going on at all times. If a team member comes to you with a question and you know nothing about it, that looks unprofessional. You should always know what your team is up to and be able to tell when something is off.
4. Caring Builds Trust
Team members need a leader they can trust. Spend some time with your members. Make them feel like a family more than just a team. Learn about their personal lives, and share yours in return.
5. Have Sympathy
Sometimes life just gets in the way of performance. Your team members can’t always be at the top of their game. If you notice something wrong, find out what’s going on and be fair about the consequences.
6. See The Best In Others
A true leader always sees the best in their team members. Just because one member is an expert at one task, that doesn’t mean another member can’t offer some helpful insight. Being able to recognize your team’s strengths and weaknesses is a real leadership skill.
7. Be Original
Try to find unorthodox ways to solve problems. Leaders create, they find ways to innovate on the ordinary. Steve Jobs didn’t create Apple by doing the same thing as IBM. Netflix became an unbeatable powerhouse when it starting making its own content. Bring your original thoughts to the table.
8. Take Advantage of Your Youth
Young people are energetic. They have spunk; they’re still curious about the world. Use that to your advantage. Stay excited and optimistic even when the outcome looks bleak. Your members will see that, and it will rub off on them.
9. Take Calculated Risks
Taking a risk is necessary to achieve something great. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan these risks. Never jump headfirst into something, but be open to new ideas. You never know what may work.
10. Be Confident
It takes confidence to inspire others. Have faith in your project, and ensure it gets finished on-time and is quality.
11. Organize Your Workspace
Organization is essential to the success of your team. Organizing your space means you won’t forget things, and you can spend more time getting work done.
12. Study Your Competition
Being successful means doing something better than your competition. Don’t outright copy them, but compare your strengths and weaknesses to theirs, and see what you can change to beat them. Hulu can only stand against Netflix by providing better content.
13. Don’t Hold Back
You’re young. You’re likely going to be working with people much older and more experienced than you. Don’t let them push you around or step on your ideas. Take their advice into account, but stand your ground when it comes to decision making.
14. Have a Vision
Know what your team is trying to accomplish. Give them goals to work towards on a daily basis. Make them believe in your vision. Bill Gates knew what he wanted with Windows, and worked with his team to create the biggest computer operating systems on the market.
15. Have Self-Awareness
Know how you are affecting your team. Pay attention to your actions and how others react to them. Are your members listening to you, or are they ignoring you? Are your team members able to understand your ideas? If not, you should spend more time explaining them clearly. Self-awareness is a difficult state to achieve, but a well-respected skill.
16. Don’t Let Emotions Get In The Way
When your team has a problem, they look to you for help. That means you need to provide an objective solution to the issue at hand. Which is best for the team? Don’t let emotions cloud that decision.
17. Don’t Listen To Negativity
Negativity will only bring your team down. Of course, opposing opinions are something to be considered, but if a team member is complaining just to complain, make sure to shut that down before it affects the rest of the team.
18. Learn to Communicate
Communication is a significant factor in being a leader. Knowing how to portray your ideas, how to speak with your team, and how to address situations will provide you with a lot of respect as a leader.
19. Drop the Ego
Learning to balance confidence and ego is a tough but necessary skill for a good leader. Don’t assume you can do no wrong. Examine your faults and own up to them, while working on making them better.
20. Lead By Example
The best tip you can find on being a leader. If you want your team to do something, be the start of it. Show them what you’d like. Be someone they can look up to and stand behind.
Becoming a great leader takes time. You’re young – don’t expect to get it all down on the first try. Use these tips to build up your leadership skills slowly, and do what you can to ensure your team’s success.