You want to do more than just succeed in business; you want to be a leader. You might wonder whether you have the qualities that it takes. While some people do seem to be born leaders, you can certainly learn the skills you need to inspire people and teams to follow you. The steps below can help you develop those skills.
Get an MBA
Getting an MBA is a great way to develop your leadership skills. In fact, it’s a safe bet that your classmates are largely people who will go on to be leaders in their fields. You may need some work experience before a good program will admit you, and you will have the opportunity to synthesize what you’ve learned so far out in the working world with the coursework, giving you a perspective that will serve you well as a leader. If paying for it is a concern, similar options are available as for your undergraduate degree although your employer may agree to foot some of the bill. You can also take out graduate student loans from a private lender, which is easier to do than it would have been as an undergraduate since you’ve had time to develop a credit history. Look into scholarships and grants as well.
Work on Your Communication Skills
A great leader is able to communicate well in a variety of different situations with many different types of people. There are a number of ways to prepare for this. For example, there are organizations that can help you improve your public speaking skills. Keep in mind as well that listening and making people feel heard is also an important element of communication.
Become a Mentor
Mentoring is a critical element of leadership. Being a leader is not just about being at the top but is about helping others develop their potential. Mentoring also helps you improve a number of different soft skills, including communication, empathy and the ability to build trust. You will need to be a good coach to inspire people, and mentoring gives you the opportunity to practice this as well.
Focus on Others
Think of leadership as being more about building up teams and other people rather than yourself. You should keep a positive attitude even when spirits are flagging, and work with others to find solutions. These solutions are more effective if you empower people to find and implement them rather than bringing them in from the top down. Rewarding people in some way is a great way to motivate them. It’s also important to make people feel good about themselves and to highlight their abilities if they do not recognize them.
Share Your Vision
The core of great leadership is having a vision that can inspire others. Spend some time thinking about what yours is and how you can best communicate it. Keep in mind as well that this can mean sharing beyond your workplace. You can give talks at seminars and conferences, and you can also be active on social media and write guest posts for popular blogs.