Noone is “born to be a leader”, they become leaders through training and experience.
While leadership fundamentals draw on some intuitive characteristics, many of the traits of a great leader can be acquired – you just have to believe in yourself first and foremost.
The more opportunities you have to serve in leadership positions, the more likely you are to develop the skills to lead. Volunteering for a leadership role is a great way to develop and sharpen your leadership skills. Look beyond the workplace for these positions by contacting community groups and professional associations.
A key role of a leader is to challenge the status quo by developing strategies to grow and enhance their organisation; yet many people in leadership positions struggle to implement and manage change.
John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change is a great resource for learning the necessary skills to lead and manage change.
In his book, Leading Change, Kotter suggests the first step to implementing change is to create a sense of urgency to motivate the management team. The leader should then form a coalition of influencers within the organisation who are committed to the end goal of the change effort. Step three is to create a clear and compelling image of the change, while step four is to communicate the vision and the benefits it will bring. Other steps in Kotter’s strategy include removing obstacles, celebrating incremental changes, building on change and anchoring the changes in corporate culture. You can read more about Leading Change here.
As a final tip, effective leaders are constantly learning. We recommend that you devise a plan to improve your leadership skills, including formal study or training.
Remember leadership is a characteristic that people aren’t born with – it needs to be learned and nourished.