Happier Way Original –
Early in careers, as employees try to gain their footing within a company, they strive for excellence as a team member or individual contributor. Eventually, though, as they grow in their careers, individual contributors seek the next step of the professional journey. This next step is typically the one that thrusts employees into leadership positions. But if one thing is true, being a successful individual contributor does not guarantee success as a leader.
There are several core competencies to being a strong leader, which include communication skills, the ability to delegate, and creativity, among others. Developing and honing true leadership qualities, however, as is the case with anything else in life, means learning from the most successful leaders that have come before us. Harnessing the lessons of proven, impactful leaders, let’s take a look at four key lessons of strong leadership that will help you become the best leader possible.
1. Accountability is Everything
Taking ownership of your words and actions should be paramount for any leader. This is particularly true when you make mistakes—own those mistakes. Bob Iger, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, wrote in his bestselling memoir The Ride of a Lifetime, “In work, in life, you’ll be more respected by the people around you if you own up to your mistakes.”
2. Brave the Storms Together
Being a leader doesn’t always mean sunshine and rainbows. True leaders will stick by their people even during the toughest times. Brené Brown, in her book Dare to Lead about lessons of strong leadership, writes, “Show up for people in pain and don’t look away.”
3. Use Action, Not Just Words, to Achieve Mission
Many leaders have a vision. Some are gifted enough to articulate their plans and even garner buy-in from their teams. But the most successful leaders will produce results. Just ask Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, who said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
4. Cultivate Followers for Leadership
When first developing leadership skills, the last thing on your mind is probably formulating a strategy to help others follow in your footsteps. But the reality is that being a strong leader means priming followers to step into your shoes. As Jocko Willink wrote plainly in his bestselling book The Dichotomy of Leadership, “The goal of all leaders should be to work themselves out of a job.”