leader

This chapter was all about leaders and up until recently hadn’t been a leader in a job. I had just been a leader of a school club. But for my internship I will be working at a school doing the information technology there. To my surprise they asked me if they could give me the lead on it. I was caught off guard with it. With me never being a leader in that capacity before. They must have saw something in me and my resume that made them want me to lead. I never thought that for an internship I would be the one saying what happens with certain things. Though I think I will do great I am a little apprehensive about doing the leading by myself. All I know now is that I better start learning how to be an effective leader because in a few months I will be a leader of an organization I know very little about. ¬†Being an effective leader to me isn’t what you know it is how you carry out the knowledge you do have.

Here are five things you can do to train yourself to be a great leader though not all apply 4/5 do:

1. Keep promises, period.
Never make promises you’re not sure you can keep. Nothing kills your credibility quicker than a breached promise or unfulfilled expectation.

Sometimes keeping promises can be challenging, if not downright painful. This commitment will develop discipline and integrity. Practice it with your kids as well as colleagues.

2. Dress to influence.
Don’t dress to impress, dress to influence. That means making sure your appearance is consistent with your personal and professional brand. Begin by asking yourself how a leader with your aspirations should appear to others.

And don’t limit appearance to just yourself. Apply it to your company. Butler Amusements, a Fairfield, Cal.-based carnival company, has always prided itself on having the cleanest trucks in the business and has built a brand around the slogan: “The Cleanest Show in the West

3. Treat your team as you expect them to treat customers.
Asking your team to be courteous to customers and being a jerk to them is incongruent and hypocritical. Being the leader doesn’t give you a free pass to indulge your base instincts. The way you treat people is a barometer to everyone on your team.

Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant leadership” in the 1960’s. It isn’t about being servile, but about finding ways to support your employees so they can become successful. Periodically ask: “What can I do to help?”

4. Show your commitment to personal growth.
There are ultimately only two ways to grow your business: grow yourself and grow your team. As you and your team improve, so do service levels, operational efficiency and everything else.

5. Ask rather than wait for feedback.
Some leaders react to unsolicited feedback as criticism and miss an opportunity to learn. But waiting for your employees to become brave enough to offer you feedback is a risky proposition. Don’t ask employees what they like or dislike about you. You’ll get better information by asking: “In your opinion, what might I do to become a more effective leader?”

Listen for actionable behavior. If someone says you’d be more effective by communicating more clearly, ask for an example of when you haven’t, so you’ll understand what he or she means.

Which of these actions will you take first to train yourself to be a better leader?

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