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Reality Check: “Natural Born Leaders” Are A Myth

by Linda Coors on June 23, 2014 · 0 comments

Reality Check: “Natural Born Leaders” Are A MythWhen you think of a leader, you might think of someone who is ambitious, organized, well-versed, among other favorable adjectives. Those words may very well describe you! But even with the best leaders, there’s always room for improvement.

Skills in life are acquired over time, and though you may not have been born a leader, you obviously learned valuable skills along the way to get you where you are today. Bottom line: Leadership skills are learned — not ingrained — and you should never stop learning.

A few weeks ago, I came across an insightful article entitled “10 Things You Need To Work On To Be A Great Leader” in Business Insider. The article goes into detail about how a leader can’t just expect to stay a leader and never learn anything new. And to broaden our definition, keep in mind that a leader can be anyone who is willing to take charge within your organization. An employee doesn’t have to be in the C-suite to be considered a leader. In fact, I think on any given day we’re all leaders from the moment we take charge on our individual projects to group meetings.

Here are four ways to become a better example to others while improving upon your own skill-set.

Accept The Right Criticism

Not all criticism is constructive.

When you step in a leadership role, you’re going to open yourself up to critiques and you need to learn how to handle others’ opinions. Some will have validity, and others may just be crude words with no basis.

Either way, you need to take what you can use from your peers to become a better leader — and dismiss the thoughtless comments.

Be A Good Listener

Stop checking your e-mails and multitasking.

It is becoming increasingly easy to multitask these days, but until the day comes where we do business only with computers, you need to look away from the screen and stop checking your phone and instead, just listen.

Listen to what your employees are telling you, and listen well. If you show them they’re not important, what’s to keep them from seeking somewhere they will be valued?

Err On The Side Of Overcommunication

 

Reality Check: “Natural Born Leaders” Are A MythTake the extra time up front and cut down questions in the long run.

You’ve got a meeting in 30 minutes and a client briefing after lunch…your calendar is filling up faster than you can keep track of, so you think, “I’ll just quickly assign this job. They’ll figure it out and I can cross that off my own list.”

Wrong! You might as well just add more work to your list because even though you took time to assign a project to one of your employees, you also didn’t go into detail about what you want them to do and how you want the task completed.

Whether you’re documenting your processes extensively or taking the time to explain a task yourself, remember how important it is.

Employees can’t read your mind. While it may take up a little more time up front, it will save you the headache of building in more time to have the project redone if it’s not what you wanted in the first place.

Never Stop Learning

With some 90,000 landscaping companies in the United States, you can bet there are thousands of leaders within these organizations. I wonder how many of these leaders actively try to hone their skills and lead by example.

The good news it that you’re reading this post, and you have a chance to step up. If we can’t become better leaders, then we’re just creating havoc in an industry that needs our expertise and direction.

And don’t worry if you’re not the best leader right now because we’re all works in progress — what makes us different and makes us leaders is that we’re willing to grow and change.

                       
       

Image credits: Learn and lead, employee conversation

 

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