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Playing the Part: How to Act Like a Leader to Become One

Leadership skills are some of the most valuable skills to learn in the workforce. Whether you’re fresh out of college or are looking to advance your career, a strong leadership style will carry you to many new opportunities. Everybody knows at least one strong leader in their life. But, it can be hard to follow suit without understanding what it is that makes that person or people the “gift” of leadership. Truthfully, the qualities they possess are qualities anyone can learn. It just takes practice and a willingness to step up to the challenges.

The people we look up to are those who aren’t afraid to work hard for what they want. If you want to show leadership capabilities, you should always tackle the hardest parts of your job first. Don’t give up, even when you feel lost. By showing your strength and dedication to doing an excellent job, you will prove to your team that you won’t give up in times of hardship. It will also prove your ability to solve complex problems for your organization.

Every good leader knows that his or her team is more important than individual effort. Therefore, you need to get to know your team to show you can be a respectable leader. Someone who takes the time to know and understand the individuals of their team will be a more effective leader. They know each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, and can help them overcome challenges using those strengths and balancing out the weaknesses.

Create an open door policy. An open door policy is a stated or unstated rule that you are always available to your team if they have questions, concerns, or want to brainstorm solutions they face while on the job. A leader that is accessible to the team, and open to resolving problems is one that team members can trust. Without an open door policy, your team members will either fear or resent you for taking your position of power too seriously.

One reason many leaders don’t succeed is because they think that their position means their duties have suddenly changed. Poor leaders see themselves as being in a position of greater power, rather than being in a greater position to help their team succeed. Don’t separate yourself from the work of your team. If a task needs to be completed, don’t shy away from doing it yourself. Doing the grunt work with your team members doesn’t devalue your leadership position. In fact, the more you work with your team rather than simply delegating to them, the more respect you will gain.

Create a positive work environment for your peers. People will want to follow you if they like and respect you as a person. Even the most skilled or intelligent person cannot be a good leader if they make the work environment miserable. You can do many little things to make the work environment more enjoyable. Joke around with your coworkers when there’s a lot of pressure on all of you to lighten the mood. Or suggest team lunches once a week, where everyone sits down together and gets to know each other.

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