They say that some people are born leaders, but the truth is that anyone can hone their leadership skills even if they weren't "born" leaders. Some people are born with better abilities in certain areas that lend themselves to being a great leader, but that doesn't mean that these skills are impossible to learn or improve. Being confidant, brave, and being able to make hard decisions are a few of the traits of a good leader, but there's no one-size-fits-all way to describe a great leader because history has shown us many incredible leaders who have all had their own unique skill sets.
Related:6 Leadership Traits You (The Employee) Need To Develop On-The-Job
If you want to improve your leadership skills, whether it's to help you get further ahead at work, or simply to improve other areas of your life, here are some tips and pieces of advice that will help you learn what it takes to be a great leader and you'll be well on your way! What better way to improve your skills than to model them after the best?
Examples Of Great Leaders
Contrary to the famous comedy sketch from Blackadder, there's a lot more to being a great leader than just shouting all the time. Let's take a look at a few examples of great leaders...
- What comes to mind when you think of Winston Churchill's leadership style is "tough love." Regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders in all of history, Winston Churchill knows what it's like to make a tough decision for the greater good of your people.
Sir Richard Branson
- Richard Branson is an example of the charismatic leader archetype. A successful businessman, he's the CEO of Virgin
, which is a company that's known for making a big splash and disrupting things in any industry they've entered, from Cola to air travel to mobility and more.
- Regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky lead to Edmonton Oilers to many Stanley Cup victories, broke countless records, and always stayed classy and respectful. He shows the importance of leading by example.
The Habits Of Successful Leaders
Now that we've taken a look at a few notable leaders throughout history, what do they all have in common? As we discussed in the introduction, there are certain traits that many successful leaders possess, but along with those traits also come habits that they practice. Here's a look at some of those habits...
A successful leader is always looking for ways to improve. They recognize that they're never perfect, and there's always room for improvement. A successful leader is always working to improve their craft.
They listen to their people. The boss in the boardroom doesn't know what it's like on the floor first hand, that's why it's important for them to keep an ear to the ground and to always make sure their people feel comfortable approaching them with questions or concerns. They believe in themselves. If you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone that you're supposed to be leading? If the people you want to lead don't believe in you, then they won't follow you.
Final Thoughts On Improving Your Leadership Skills
Leaders aren't forged in libraries but rather in the battlefield. That is to say, leadership is something that you'll learn best through experience, however arming yourself with the right tools and perspective can be incredibly useful. Forget about "being born a great leader" because it takes time, experience and putting one's self to the test to truly forge a great leader - it's not as simple as either being born with it or not.
We're all the product of our situations and experiences, but it's up to us to decide what we do with those hardships. Will you let hard times break you, or will you let them shape you into a great leader? That's a decision that all great leaders have had to face at one time or another. When the phone rings, will you be ready to answer the call?
This post was originally published at an earlier date.Photo Credit: Shutterstock