At Dale Carnegie, we believe that by working hard on personal and professional development, you can be taught how to be a good leader. Leadership is about how to connect, communicate and collaborate with the people around you. These are skills, and while they may come easier to one person over another, skills, by definition, are "the ability do something well." Practice makes perfect, and it seems Kate McKay over at Entrepreneur.com would agree.
In fact, her recent article, "5 Skills You Must Acquire Before You Can Lead," talks about the hard work it takes to lead and lead well. While all five skills she mentions are valuable, we thought highlighting two actionable skills would be a great way to jumpstart your leadership potential.
First, practice self-reflection. You might think leadership starts with learning about other people, but it actually starts by taking a look in the mirror. Learning from your own mistakes and failures is one of the fastest ways to become a good leader. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but if you can learn from them, you will be ahead of the game. In fact, a popular Dale Carnegie quote teaches us to "Develop success from failures." Experiences - both good and bad - are meant to be used as lessons and tools for future decisions.
The second is to find your "Why" - your clear vision of what you want. This is what will motivate, encourage and inspire you when you face challenging times. This is what allows you to push through the storms that lead to success. Your why has to be big enough - rewarding enough - to take the risks that are required to be a great leader. Again, while some people are natural risk takers, every single one of us has a passion and a purpose in this life - a "Why" to hone in on and motivate us.
In closing, to become a stronger leader, start with these two skills. Think back and reflect honestly on your past mistakes and failures. Acknowledge them, own up to them, and then learn from them. Then, move on to looking inside to what motivates and moves you. What do you want your life to look like and WHY do you want it to look that way? Focus on this "Why" in the good times and the bad, and let it encourage you to push through the hard times.
When you are ready, visit Kate McKay's article to get the next three skills:
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