Have you ever thought about the steps you can take to improve your knowledge and expertise in order to become a better leader within your company, within your industry, or within your community?
The online business space is pretty crowded these days, and one of the major ways you can stand out from the rest of the businesses in your industry is to be viewed as a leader.
What being a leader means
Well, according to Google a “leader” is a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country.
I’ll take that, and add a bit to it:
A leader is someone who has a certain amount of expertise in whatever industry or niche they are in, and they are willing – and do – share their insights with those around them through writing, speaking and taking action.
They are good at not only sharing their lessons learned, expertise and insights, but also at teaching others how to apply that so they don’t make the same mistakes. A leader is trusted, holds authority and is viewed as a credible source by those who follow.
They deliver consistent value with integrity and passion, they learn to take responsibility for their actions, and they’re always willing to go the extra mile.
Sounds like a pretty good gig, right?
But how exactly do you go about becoming a better leader? Well, it takes time, patience, hard work and a lot of dedication.
7 steps to becoming a better leader
1. Follow leaders who you look up to
This is sort of like writers following the writers they admire. If you’re following true leaders, then you’ll have a lot to learn from them in order to become a better leader yourself.
Take Action: Pick out 2, 3 or even 4 leaders who you admire – either for their speaking abilities, their expertise in a particular industry or niche, their ability to teach others who can learn from their mistakes – and read their articles, follow their speaking engagements and check out their presence on social media and within online communities. You’ll soon find that leaders have an effective way of getting out there and being seen and heard.
2. Practice the things that make you uncomfortable
A lot of you who want to become better leaders probably know exactly what it takes to get there, but the reason you’re not a better leader right now is that you’re scared of those things.
These things might include becoming a better speaker, building stronger relationships, taking yourself out of your comfort zone for travel and other engagements… Guess what? All of these things will help you become a better leader.
Take Action: Start practicing those things that make you uncomfortable with a mentor or friend. Before you know it, you’ll not only become better at doing these things, you might actually grow to like them!
Anything that makes you uncomfortable WILL make you stronger after you’ve achieved it.
3. Tell yourself every day that you’re a leader (and believe it!)
You love staying on the negative side of things, right? You’re not good enough at this, or strong enough at that. It’s comforting to know these things because it means you can’t fail. How can you fail at something you’re not even good at in the first place?
If you already know you can’t do it, then it won’t be a surprise when you don’t.
To become a leader, you have to believe that you are a leader, and then start ACTING like one.
Take Action: Look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself every day that you are a leader.
4. Learn something new about your expertise, industry or niche every day
I don’t care what expertise you have, or what industry or niche you’re in; these days, things are changing by the minute.
In order to maintain your leadership level and your expertise – your ability to teach people things that will keep them from making the same mistakes you did – you need to stay on top of the changes that are happening around you.
Take Action: Do keyword searches for words and phrases that are trending in your business world. Then, find relevant articles, writers and publications who keep up with the latest and greatest and add them to your Feedly, (or whatever platform you use to track your favorite feeds). This way, you’ll be able to go to a single source for updates relevant to your industry or niche.
5. Gather resources you use and that you would recommend to others
If you’re being looked at as an authority figure by others, then you better believe you’re the one those people will be looking to for resources and advice. This is why it’s important to have a collection of resources that you not only have used and believe in yourself, but that you also feel strongly about recommending to others.
Take Action: Every time you use a new resource or tool, take notes on your experience with it. Once you have an ongoing list of resources, you can start to build out a resources page on your site to share with your followers.
Note: Your credibility depends on these recommendations, so choose wisely.
In addition to following leaders who you look up to, and learning something new about your expertise, industry or niche every day, it’s also important to read, read, read!
Take Action: Make a list of the top 5 business books you want to read, and set a date that you want to have them finished by. Then, hold yourself accountable to that date.
7. Build and grow your relationships
Building and growing your relationships will no doubt, 100% help you become a better leader. The more connected you are, the more people you have to bounce ideas off from and share feedback with, the better off you’ll be.
I can’t think of a single leader who “went at it alone”. You need support and motivation, those who will hold you accountable and who will act as a sounding board for feedback and recommendations.
Take Action: Write down 10 names of people who you feel that – either by building or growing upon your relationship – both of you would benefit. Then, reach out to those people and connect. If they’re in your geographical area, then try to set a time to meet for coffee. If they aren’t in your geographical area, then send them a note and ask how things are going with their business, and whether or not there is anything you can do to help. You can also see if these people are planning to attend any upcoming conferences or speeches, and try to connect with them in person if you’ll be in the same place at the same time.
What becoming a better leader means
Becoming a better leader means growing your expertise in whatever industry or niche you’re in; being willing – and able – to share your insights with those around you; being good at not only sharing your expertise and insights, but also at teaching others how to apply them so they don’t make the same mistakes; and being someone who your followers can trust and view as an authority figure.
It also means big potential for your business.
Deliver value with integrity and passion, and your fans and followers will always be there.
Learn to take responsibility for your actions, and use your failures and missteps as learning experiences. You’ll be amazed by the lessons you can carry with your for years to come, and how those lessons can truly help others.
Make helping others achieve their goals through sharing the lessons learned, skills and knowledge you already have BIGGER than your own fears.
When the going get’s tough, keep on going.
It’s never crowded along the extra mile. – Wayne Dyer