Are you a leader or a follower?

Do you see yourself as a leader or a follower? You could argue that one is far better than the other but in actual fact; successful leaders need to be just as capable of following if needs be. In order to become a leader it helps to have the respect of others and being a team player and working in a cooperative environment can help you gain that respect. If you’re confident in yourself and your own capabilities, those around you will naturally view you as the right person to take charge. In order to understand your full leadership potential it is important to be able to take a honest look at your own personal attributes to discover what you can do improve your leadership capabilities, by being brave and taking a moment to analyse yourself means that even those among us who aren’t natural born leaders can learn the skills required to influence others to follow their lead.

If you instantly know how to solve a problem and approach tricky situations with ease, chances are you have natural leader qualities. Whereas, if you prefer to take direction or like to validate an idea before implementing it, you probably display more ‘follower’ traits. Both are equally important as in business one simply can’t exist without the other. However if you feel you have the hidden potential to become a successful leader there are a few specific traits that are essential. A good leader has the ability to see everything that’s happening around them and respond quickly, from noticing patterns to potential threats, a good leader will foresee possible issues and already have a strategy in place if the issue does eventually arise.

So how do you express your budding leadership potential to your fellow colleagues? Well, there are few simple changes you can make to your everyday working practices in order to encourage people to start following you.

It may seem obvious but improving communication between yourself and colleagues is a great way to improve your leadership skills. By letting others have their say even if you don’t agree, and asking relevant questions will help to make others believe in you and feel that their opinions are valued. However communication shouldn’t just be limited to ‘work talk’. It may seem like a contradiction when talking about becoming a leader, but having an informal connection and sharing with colleagues on subjects besides work matters makes for a happier and more content work relationship.

Remembering everyone likes to be appreciated is also an important aspect in showing your leadership potential. if you’ve ever been praised for something you worked really hard on you probably know how rewarding this can feel. By praising someone you’re not asserting any authority; however you are letting that person know that you’ve noticed their effort, which is an important trait in a leader.

Whilst it’s important to notice how others are working, it’s just as important to recognise your own faults, an apology is not a weakness, and by acknowledging and taking responsibility for your own mistakes means that colleagues are far more likely to respect you than if you try to ignore it.

Lastly, understanding the goals of your fellow colleagues is paramount in gaining the respect needed to be a great leader. If you know what others goals are, you can figure out ways to help them achieve them. This in turn will make others keener to help you out when you need them.

By incorporating these simple ideas into your day to day working practice could be the first step towards unlocking your leadership capabilities. However the important thing to remember is to be a leader you really have to want it, if your hearts only half in it chances are you will fall at the first challenge you find yourself facing. Remember to honestly asses your strengths and weaknesses and only move forward if you feel you have the attributes to do so.

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