At a high level, being a leader means the ability to effectively guide others to meet both business and personal development goals. Leadership usually encompasses certain tasks, traits, and outlooks, although the specifics may differ across companies and individuals. If your manager has asked you to develop your leadership abilities, you should refer to the guide below as well as to the article “Deciphering Your Performance Review: How to Translate Vague Feedback Into Action.”
Provide direction: Lead meetings and projects in order to meet specific team or company goals and outcomes. This also may involve public speaking if working with a large number of people.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Leading Meetings, Project Management, Goals / Objectives Management, Public Speaking / Presenting, Teamwork, Organizational Skills
Develop others: Use feedback and coaching to help the people on your team grow and achieve their professional goals.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Feedback and Coaching, Code Review, Performance Management, Goals / Objectives Management
Foster teamwork: Understand the various strengths of your team members and align the right people to the right tasks. Establish a healthy team environment to optimize output.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Teamwork, Project Management, Conflict Resolution
Resolve conflict: Conflict and debate lie at the heart of robust decision-making. You must make this conflict productive by helping others clarify what is at stake for themselves and the company and move people forward to a solution.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Conflict Resolution, Feedback and Coaching, Effective Listening
Listen effectively: You enter a conversation with an openness to new thoughts and a genuine readiness to process new information.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Effective Listening, Receiving Feedback
Explain effectively: Effective explanations center around understanding what the listener needs to process your information. This involves what you communicate, your communication style and the timing.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Effective Explanation, Public Speaking / Presenting, Leading Meetings, Writing, Persuasion, Feedback and Coaching
Inclusive: You seek to involve the unique talents and styles of all team members to come to the best possible outcome.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Teamwork, Project Management, Leading Meetings, Organizational Skills
Respectful: You recognize the value and intelligence of your colleagues and teammates through your verbal cues and body language.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Teamwork, Leading Meetings, Conflict Resolution, Feedback and Coaching
Attuned to others: You realize that your success is tied to the success of your team, and you encourage or create opportunities for other people to develop.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Teamwork, Goals / Objectives Management, Feedback and Coaching
Goal and objective-focused: You think about how you will continually motivate your team to meet goals.
Relevant Nodabl Competencies: Goals / Objectives Management, Persuasion
Weaving it all together
You don’t need to be a manager or in an explicit leadership role to “be more of a leader.” The nature of today’s business environment, with dynamic teams being assembled as new projects and initiatives emerge, creates opportunities for every person to be a leader, regardless of their present place in the hierarchy.
As you approach your work, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I volunteering to take the lead on new projects and initiatives?
- Am I being proactive about shaping the agenda, discussion, or task list, or am I sitting back and waiting to be called on?
- Am I bringing others into the conversation, seeking out other viewpoints, and helping others be heard?
- Am I providing feedback to others in a helpful and respectful way?
The more you can answer yes to these questions as you do your work, the more you are “being a leader.”