It is not hard to become a manager. You just have to say the right things at the right time. However, it is much harder to become a true leader. Being a good leader has many benefits. Leaders receive way more salary and are more respected by employees. They also climb the corporate ladders way faster than ‘normal’ people, and often become CEO of a company. People generally think that you have to be born with these leadership qualities, but this is a fable. Everyone can be a leader with proper training. You have to practice the traits that leaders possess every day. This can be done by creating and following a personal leadership development plan. The purpose of this article therefore is to describe how you can transition from solely being a manager to being a truly good leader.
One of the most important things of developing good leadership is reading books. You can read about leadership characteristics and how to convey them in leadership books. The following books are recommended, for example:
- Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
- How to make friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie
- What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, Shad Helmstetter
- Leadership 101, by John Maxwell
In this way you can read how leaders think. It is crucial to adopt the thinking patterns of great leaders in order to become one yourself too.
Maybe even more important than reading great leadership books, is being in the surroundings of a great leader. Great leaders are scarce, but easy to recognize and almost every company has at least one good leader. Try to get in contact with these people and learn from them. If you have daily contact with a leader you will develop and understanding about how they think and act. Someone said the following:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
Make sure that at least one of these 5 closest friends is a good leader, and this will help you on your way to become a good leader yourself.
Short-Term & Long-Term Goals
Write down what you want to be accomplished in the next 30, 60 and 90 days. In this way it is clear for yourself what you want and in what pace you will move to your goal. Push yourself to become better and better in the leadership characteristics you learned through books and personal contact with a leader. Focus on one characteristic at a time, or it will be too overwhelming.
Once you have accomplished your short-term goals, start in on your long-term goals. Don’t only focus on yourself, have goals for your subordinates and company too. Determine in which areas the company and employees excel and in which areas they clearly lack. Develop a plan to maintain the strengths and improve/compensate the weaknesses. Great leaders surround themselves with people that complement each other. In this way some sort of synergy will be created that will result in results that are greater than the sum of individuals.