When I was younger I found the concept of being a leader confusing, overbearing and too much of a responsibility. I shyed away from it because I lacked confidence in myself and cared so much about what others would think of me.
How many times have you wanted to take the lead on something maybe at work or in a relationship or friendship and stopped yourself because the question ‘who am I to dare such a thing?’ popped up in your mind?
I know for me it has been many times.
But it is a good question to ask…
“Who are you to dare a such thing”?
Well, you are a leader, simple!
Every day, in your life, whether you are aware of it or not, you are taking some form of leadership and impacting the world.
But what if you could be more intentional in leadership and develop the leader in you better, to help steer you closer to your goals and achieve more in your life?
Let’s talk about it…
Develop The Leader in You in 4 steps.
#1 LEAD YOURSELF FIRST
Like I mentioned earlier, there is already a leader in you. Each day you wake up and make decisions and take actions, it is a form of leading yourself. The challenge however, is that most times we are not really doing this with intention and purpose, but rather we seem to be at the whims of life instead of taking charge in our lives.
Developing the leader in you means that you first learn to take charge of your life by identifying what is important to you and what you are trying to accomplish in your life.
With that clarity, you then need to take active steps to become the person that accomplishes that which you desire. This will require good sustainable and consistent daily habits, personal and professional development. Routines and rituals which must include self-care.
Leadership is about being the best version of yourself so that you can serve from a full cup and impact your world by so doing.
#2 BE A CONTRIBUTION
I have alluded to this above, being a leader is all about serving others. How many times have we thought that leadership is about being in the front barking orders at others and expecting them to follow in a straight line?
Leadership- true leadership, is nothing of the sort.
To develop the leader in you, start by asking yourself the question how can I make a difference? What can I give of my time, resources and expertise to help others or to contribute for change?
So, how is it that serving others is a form of leadership?...
Leadership that is impactful is one that it is transformational and inspirational.
When you are of service to others, you show others what is possible of themselves, you give them hope and support that helps them to make their dreams come alive, and you open up a portal of new possibilities that inspires and sparks change within themselves. When you are seen as a contributor, supporter and cheerleader, you naturally find that people follow your example and they in turn go on to make their own impact in the way they have seen you do in their lives. That is leadership.
#3 SET BOUNDARIES
Now, here is where there is a balance to be had. Yes, leadership is about serving others, but it is not about burning yourself to the ground or exploding with overwhelm as a result. To develop the leader in you, you have to get comfortable with saying ‘NO’. People-pleasing is not a form of leadership but rather a form of fear of rejection that is sophisticatedly masked.
Setting boundaries means that you honour yourself and show others how to honour you. If saying no or setting boundaries is an area you struggle with, then consider firstly, what is at the basis of it? What are you afraid of if you say no or set clear boundaries? Spend time really digging into that so that you can allow yourself to confront it once and for all and move on from it. The second thing, is to think about what it is costing you to not enforce clearly needed boundaries in your work and life. What are you missing out on every time you say ‘yes’ when it should have been a ‘NO’? This will help you get a better perspective on how to manage the people and things around you and start setting those boundaries.
#4 BE YOURSELF
The reality of the matter is that leaders are a light that shine bright in the world. And the light that shines in you is the real you- the authentic you. As long as you are hiding who you really are, shrinking your talents, and playing small, success is going to elude you. To develop the leader in you, you have to get comfortable with your greatness and your weakness. You have to be able to see yourself as being enough, as being relevant in the world and as having awesome gifts, talents and abilities that the world simply cannot be a better place without. Being yourself is about letting go of imperfections and holding on to your vision, calling and purpose and doing the very best with it while you are here on this earth.
Leadership is such a personal journey that we all get to be on and in our own various ways. How we show up as leaders can make all the difference in this world, so start embracing the leader in you and DEVELOP that leader in you too.
Banke Sotomi is a certified Life & Executive Leadership coach that is passionate about leadership and personal growth. She has spent over 10 years helping individuals identify their super powers (aka strengths), grow in self-confidence, esteem and self-worth, while helping them to also overcome their limiting beliefs so that they can achieve more and make an impact in the world.