How to Become a More Effective Leader

At some point in our lives we are all faced with choosing to be the leader or the follower. Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility but also an immense amount of rewards. I have never believed that great leaders are born that way, rather it’s hard work and constant self investing.

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In the grey dog days of winter I was searching for some uplifting inspiration, and I decided to attended a 1 day Creative Leadership Course. I was hoping to walk away from this class buzzing with thoughts, new ideas, and ways to invigorate my leadership techniques. This class was a little boggy however and I waded through 8 hours of general coaching before I was able to glean some very insightful tidbits. I’ll save you the sore glutes from sitting all day and sum up the golden gems I walked away with below:

  • Invest in yourself: Hmm okay that sounds easy I can for sure do that, but wait what does that even mean? It means that each year take 10% of your income and invest it in bettering yourself. Think of it as you invest $150 for a Microsoft Office class this year and when your skills improve you are able to accomplish more tasks at work, and now that small amount of cash is pushing you towards a greater opportunity (maybe more $$$). Rather than thinking about it as costing you $150 think about what it would cost you to never learn those skills and stay where you are. Check out my post on 7 ways I invested in myself in 2017.
  • Praise the right way: Specific, Sincere, Immediate, and Personal. These are the keys to eliminate hollow sayings such as “good job”. If you want to motivate someone and really reward them for the progress use these identifiers to craft meaningful praise.
  • Rewards: This ties in with praise the right way. Leadership is about paying attention to your group and their individual needs and wants. One way to accomplish this is to keep a list of what each person likes such as their favorite candy, hobbies, foods, or whatever else will make them feel special.
  • Three things you need in your life: 1. A coach- no one gets successful by themselves. 2.Library of resources- to get where you’re going you need advice, real stories, and inspiration. 3.Attitude- the attitude to want to change and want to get better at something.
  • And the best for last, POSITIVITY: It’s a no-brainer that good leaders possess this trait but I never fully understood the power of positivity till attending this course. How many people do you love to hang out with that are inherently negative, that walk around thinking the world is out to get them? I bet you didn’t come up with anyone you love to be around but I know you thought of someone in your life who sounds like this. We all have times in our lives where happiness is hard to come by, but what I have learned is that happiness is not the absence of hard times it is the cultivation of gratitude in the face of adversity. I have learned how to trick myself into being positive and having gratitude even while everything is crashing down around me like the Roman Empire. One method I use is re-framing negative thoughts into positive ones. For example when I am in a terrible mood I force myself to pull out my gratitude journal and list a few of my blessings. This simple act has rewired my brain to look for positive outcomes in my day and helps me to move through the negative quicker.

There you have it, the golden nuggets from the leadership course I attended last winter. I have been working on putting each of these to work in my life to improve my leadership potential. Share with us what has worked for you!

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