How to Be a Great Leader
Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, Carolyn McCall. All great leaders, and people that you might consider as leadership role models. But what is it that makes someone a great leader? And why are so many senior leaders in organisations suffering from overwhelm, negative thinking and not feeling strong or positive about what they’re doing?
If you’re a senior leader, the chances are that your initial expectation of how your leadership role would be and the actual reality of it are two different things. Constant pressure, interruptions, dealing with stakeholders, and goals or targets that are so stretching you wish you were made of elastic can all leave you tired and overwhelmed.
Whoever your leadership role models are, they’ve probably felt like this at various points in their career too. And if they can overcome it, so can you. As an executive leadership coach, I have over 20 years’ experience of working with senior leaders helping them to worry less, achieve more and rediscover their capacity to thrive.
My checklist sets out the 10 leadership activities you should be doing to develop the focus, confidence and resilience to grow as a leader and achieve the results that matter to you.
Here are five of my top ten leadership activities you can do now to help you become a great leader.
Identify where you are – and where you want to be
Before you can improve anything, you need to understand exactly what your starting point is. Begin by finding some time to sit and think about your personal and professional life. Consider honestly what’s working for you, and what’s not going so well. Once you understand your situation as it currently stands, you can start to think about where you want to go.
You probably have some idea of where you want to be. Whether it’s delivering presentations to the board without the faintest twinge of nerves or hitting those targets with ease, having an end goal in mind is crucial.Without something to aim for, you can easily lose focus Click To Tweet
Live your values
Does where you want to be and how you intend to get there fit with your values? Going against your values can lead to burn out and low motivation.
Your values are like a compass that influence your attitude and behaviour, and affect the way you react to situations and interact with others.
When you know your values, it’s easier to feel motivated and focus your efforts on what matters to you Click To Tweet
Know your strengths
Just like your values, playing to your strengths can help you immensely. Often, we focus on our weaknesses first. The fact is that we all have weaknesses and we’ll always have something we should be working to improve. But working on only your weaknesses can be exhausting without putting your strengths to good use.
Identify where you can shine right now, and take action to use your greatest strengths regularly Click To Tweet
You are what you think.
It’s important to be self-aware, but all too often we let that little voice of self-doubt creep in. When your self-talk is mostly negative, it becomes harder and harder to achieve anything. Keeping a positive mindset puts you in the right frame of mind to seize opportunity and inspire others with your positive mental attitude.
Take notice of the things that you say to yourself, and when you catch yourself being negative make an effort to reframe it in a more positive light.
Put yourself first
There’s a reason that airline cabin crews always instruct you that in case of an emergency, you should put your own oxygen mask on first. When you are getting what you need to thrive, you perform better and are more capable of helping others.
Being a great leader means knowing when to put yourself first. It all starts with being the best version of yourself; if you’re not clear about what you want, what you’re good at and what’s important to you, you can’t perform at your best.
By focusing on what energises you and understanding where you add value, you’ll find you grow as a leader and rediscover what it feels like to thrive. Once you feel more inspired and engaged with your work, your performance will improve.
One thing I love doing is helping leaders focus on themselves. If you’re ready to step into your abilities and become a great leader, let’s have a conversation to see how I can help you:
- Believe in yourself and your abilities as a leader – Instead of experiencing overwhelm and crushing self-doubt, you’ll feel confident, inspired and actively seek opportunities to grow.
- Boost your resilience – Develop the mental and emotional toughness to stop overthinking and stand by your decisions. Discover the tools to address underperformance, manage conflict, and clearly express what you think and feel.
- Feel energised and reconnected to your purpose – With a clear vision for yourself and you organisation, you can focus on where you add value and what you do well. You’ll soon feel you’re making a positive contribution at work.