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How to Become a Successful Leader

Whether just starting in a leadership role or wishing to one day be at the top, there are several strategies to keep in mind when figuring out how to be a good leader. Always remain open and connected to those on your team or within your network, be honest and open to feedback, and exude the confidence you wish you had.

Whether you were just promoted or are dreaming of being the next head honcho, keep this advice in mind to succeed as a leader.

Leadership skills don’t come easy to many. This could explain why so many people in charge, whether world leaders, CEOs, or school principals, fail big time and make mistakes that end up costing them their careers and reputations.

The trajectory seems simple enough – try hard, work your way up, and eventually dominate a company, industry, or even a small team of employees. But a lot of people fail because they weren’t ready or couldn’t handle the pressure of being in charge.

So how do you become the leader you want to be? What steps can you take to ensure success while continuing to challenge yourself? Start by taking these strategies into consideration.

Learn how to network

A comforting fact of rising into a leadership role is that many others have been there before you. Try to create lasting friendships or mentorships from those you can learn from. Even if you have to reach out and ask a CEO or retired manager to get coffee, you can learn a lot just from one conversation with those who have been in your shoes.

But also make connections with others in your industry, even those at your same level. Collaborate on ideas for your team or company. Join groups or local communities that discuss issues related to the role you have or the role you want to have. Staying involved in your industry will open many doors and lasting partnerships.

Use failure to your advantage

This one may sound cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to it. The fact is, you’ll have many moments of failure in your journey to becoming the leader you’ve always wanted to be. And sometimes these trials last a lot longer than just mere moments. Successful leaders take responsibility for mistakes (and yes, that means being honest about them) and make it a personal goal to do better next time. The great thing about making a mistake is that you’re much less likely to do it again.

So instead of keeping track of all the times you’ve failed, realize that you wouldn’t be where you are without those failures. A professional life is full of learning and growing, and it takes low moments to really understand what it means to succeed.

See the value in each of your team members

Effective leaders also see the value in others and seek to bring out the best in them. Pay attention to what areas your team members excel in, and encourage them to take on roles that spotlight those talents. This will help your organization overall and will breed other successful leaders.

As a leader, you need to realize that you can’t do it alone. Remain open to the opinions and expertise of those around you. This collaborative spirit will create an environment of learning and growing and will set up your company or team for success. And, it’s an effective way to gain respect as the person in charge. People want to be heard by leadership, and leaders often overlook how important it is to listen.

Remember that actions speak louder than words

Simply put: do what you say you’re going to do. It sounds easy enough, but it’s easy for leaders to get caught up in lofty dreams and unreachable goals to sound appealing to followers. Make sure that whatever you’re putting out there is actually attainable and doable by both yourself and your team.

Along these same lines, honesty and transparency are also crucial qualities to have as a leader. If your aim is to lead others to success and enlightenment, the only way to do that is to be genuine along the way, sharing ups and downs in the business, as well as your struggles.

Exude the confidence you want to have

It’s not always easy to give off the confidence expected from a leader, especially during difficult times. If you’re just starting out in a higher role, or aim to get there fast, try giving off the confidence you wish you had. Merely acting confident can sometimes give us that boost we need. And we’ll appear more confident to others, which will, in turn, create that respect dynamic we’re looking for.

Before you know it, you won’t be faking it at all, and you’ll notice what a little confidence can invigorate in those around you and eventually, your perception of yourself.

By taking these strategies into consideration, you’ll be an overall better leader, whether you’re already in a leadership role or are hoping to get there soon. Remaining honest, keeping a collaborative spirit, learning from your mistakes, seeing the value in others, and exuding confidence are all effective ways to improve your leadership skills and persona. Eventually you’ll truly be the leader you’ve always wanted to become.

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