The words leader and leadership tend to scare people as much as being randomly called in one of your lectures after not doing the readings. Being a leader means that you have a huge amount of responsibility and of course, you don’t want to slip up or make a mistake, because people may doubt your character or capabilities. I am here to assure you that is far from the truth. Even the best leaders make mistakes, and when you get your first leadership position it may cause a cloud of stress and anxiety, but it is a learning experience. Since you have gotten or are anticipating that you will get the position of leadership, you are more than qualified to handle the trials and tribulations of what may come. You already possess the skills and aspects of empathy, strategy, reliability, and flexibility that leaders have; you just need to put those skills to work! Being a leader isn’t just about leading others, it’s also about understanding your own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.
When I received my first leadership position, I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make an effective impact on those around me and that I wouldn’t manage all the responsibility as I never considered myself a leader. The first couple of weeks in that position were a little rocky as I was unsure about what choices to make and how to actively communicate. My confidence had depleted, and it was a terrible feeling. As I was feeling down and worried that everyone had developed a strong disliking of me, I received an anonymous comment that said, “You’re doing an amazing job, keep up the great work”. This comment was all I needed to be able to push past my constant worry and fear and do the best I could with what I have learned. I was able to realize that you do not need to be perfect to be a leader, but you do need to know that there are several steps to be a great leader.
Step one is to engage in honest and open communication. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts and opinions because YOU are the leader. Step two is to make connections with those you are leading and fellow members of your team. This gives you the ability to build and share trust while also getting to know a little more about your own personal strengths, weaknesses, goals, and motivations. With effective communication skills, you can build positive relationships that you will remember for a lifetime. Step three is to encourage personal and professional growth and keep a positive attitude. Instead of being demanding and assertive, the key to being a good leader is supposed to motivate and inspire, creating a safe and welcoming environment that creates a major impact on those that are around you. As a leader, you need to be invested in others as they will become invested in you. The last step would be to understand your own motivations. The way you become the best leader is to consider why you are even leading in the first place. Consider how does this relates to your passions and goals, what can you take away from this experience, and how will it benefit you as an individual. Being a leader is very internal, it comes from the heart, so being genuine and authentic is the best way to reach success and make a difference.
After reading this I hope it has instilled a little more faith, but also serve as confirmation that you are going to be a great leader. Many leadership skills can be learned and improved over time but have the confidence to know that a part of you was born to lead, and this is your opportunity to make your mark, show what you can do, and shine at the top! Best of luck!