5 Ways to Stand Out as a Leader
Despite what is often said, there is no such thing as a born leader. Anyone can learn how to become a leader and stand out as one.
First thing’s first. If you own any books on leadership that center on managing people, you should throw them out immediately. To be a good leader one has to learn how to manage oneself for effectiveness. And this requires doing certain rather simple things until they become regular practice. They are as follows:
- Manage your time
- Be results-oriented
- Build on strengths
- Set priorities
- Make effective decisions
Leadership is mostly about bringing order and purpose to the work of others. You will be at your best as a leader if you manage yourself in a way that enhances or makes easier the work of your peers and subordinates.
For example, time is the scarcest resource there is. You should know exactly where your time goes and work to cut back on doing things that are wasteful or unproductive. You should also be realistic about how long it takes to do particular tasks. If you set aside fifteen minutes to meet with a colleague on some issue having to do with a project you’re both working on, you’re probably deceiving yourself. Such meetings usually last an hour. It’s better to just allot the needed time, so you can properly plan your day.
Building on strengths is another habit of an effective leader. Know what you’re good at in your job and what those who work with or for you are good at in their jobs. I have always disliked the strengths-and-weaknesses question that’s a standard part of interviews and performance reviews. It’s a worthless query. The success of a business rests on making sure that people are in a position to maximize the productive use of their skills and knowledge. If you approach your job and that of your associates with this in mind, you will stand out as a leader.
Setting priorities, being results-oriented, and making effective decision are pretty self-explanatory. You should know what things ought to be done first, you should understand the results that are expected from your own work and the work of your subordinates, and you should know the basics of effective decision-making. The latter consists of judgment, and involves coming up with criteria by which you can evaluate alternative choices.
In my experience, standing out as a leader usually gets you advanced to higher positions of leadership. People naturally gravitate towards individuals who are not only competent themselves but are able to bring out the talents and competence of those around them. Entrepreneur magazine has a decent article on how to get employees to do what you want. It offers some good advice. But the mechanics of leadership still come down to the five things that I listed above.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.