It is true that the CEO of your company and your immediate boss will be seen as leaders. But that does not mean that you can’t portray yourself as a leader.
Here are six traits that you need to embody to be acknowledged as a leader by one and all:
Being an active listener. People usually think leading means speaking out. But often, the exact opposite is true. Mindful thinking means more than just keeping your mouth shut and nodding.
It means focusing on what the person you are listening to is saying, reading what their body language is telling you and maintaining eye contact. Although it sounds easy, it’s something few professionals do.
Giving importance to meetings. A key to being seen as a leader is to understand that and make your meetings count. There are two aspects to this. First, it means making the most out of meetings you call. That means only calling a meeting when it’s absolutely necessary, having an agenda for the meeting, keeping people on a topic during the meeting and having clear action items after each meeting that you follow up on.
The second aspect involves being an active participant in the meeting that has not been called by you. Sharing your expertise and feedback is also essential.
Finding a mentor. One trait all great leaders share is they focus on developing their own skills. And one of the best ways to do that is to get a mentor.
Sometimes, your boss can be your mentor. But there might arise situations when you would want someone else to mentor you.
Look for root causes, not quick fixes. When things go wrong, it’s easy to either gloss over the problem or look for a quick-fix. But, if you want to be seen as a leader, you need to transcend that and look for root causes.
This starts with being confident enough to admit a failure, which most people avoid. Next, it means looking beyond how to fix that one situation and rethinking processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Avoid blame game. Speaking the truth means explaining what happened in an effort to fix it. Casting blame is done to avoid responsibility, which only takes energy away from solving the problem.
To get to the truth, you need to actively listen and drill into the numbers to see what went wrong where. By doing this, you can calmly explain where the failings were, and then determine what to fix.
Sharing your passion. If you’re in a job that you’re passionate about then it is only great if you help others see the reason why you are passionate about it and also make them feel passionate about it. That would be the true mark of a leader.
These simple traits come a long way in helping one to acquire leadership qualities.