If there’s anything we’ve learned from all the stories we’ve heard during these challenging times, it is that you do not have to be heading a huge project to be a leader. But how do you cultivate the leader in you?  At the 2020 BEYA Conference in February, four panelists on Leadership seminar gave their insights and perspectives. Here’s the summary below.

At the beginning of our careers, we’re all more of “doers.” But as you move up, you go from being a problem solver to collaborating with other people. If you are engaged with your co-workers in a room and you have a thought, you can lead. You can influence.

Everything will change in your life when you decide to become the leader you have the potential to be. Growth goals include focusing on effectiveness, subtracting weaknesses, dividing your workload, and multiplying your impact.

Leadership requires more than management skills. The effectiveness of any leader will never rise above influencing others. Therefore, leadership skills determine the level of personal success and the success of the organization.

For people who are looking to you to lead, it is the fear of the unknown or changing the status quo that doesn’t really sit well with too many people. It is important for leaders to understand that we will not be aware of all the resistance, but if we have an understanding, we will be able to recognize it.

As leaders, you are responsible for being a consistent voice, a positive image to help everyone get through. When we share a message or when we don’t keep what we know to ourselves, we have the potential of influencing someone’s life or experience. Share what you know with others. Mentor others. Continually teach others, younger individuals, people in your organization, provide exposure to someone, and offer a thought to the people who surround you.

If you have a sense of what you think is most important and most urgent, and it does not align with your customer or organization’s priorities, then your plans will not be effective. You want clarity with the expectations around you in order to prioritize correctly. Level setting is key in moving forward as an organization.

Next, think about what is urgent versus what is important. Prioritize those tasks that you know will have the biggest impact. Have conversations to level and set expectations. These conversations are powerful and give the opportunity to focus on what is important.

It is also critical to know yourself. Have a true understanding of who you are. This will allow you to divide your time accordingly. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t hone into your own ability to lead others. Your character needs to be a strength. Develop your character over time. If a leader can hone into their own abilities, it can provide him or her with the ability to speak and act with courage and empathy.

Be consistent. Behavior also reflects strong leadership. Respect, trust among peers, among management, and those you are trying to lead is also very crucial. Adjust the way you approach things.

Every moment is an opportunity where you can decide whether you want to be positive or negative in a situation. When you are faced with something challenging, that’s the moment that you can decide whether you want to push through it with a positive attitude or complain and not fight through it. Your attitude is something that you have complete control over.

The indispensable quality of leadership is vision. If you don’t know where you’re going, it is impossible to design a path to get there. Self-discipline is the difference between temporary success and sustained success.

25 Tips for Leadership

• Leadership should begin with self
• Leadership is developed, NOT discovered.
• “The world becomes a better place when people become better leaders.”
• The best investment in tomorrow is to develop your influence today.
• Influence is the beginning of true leadership.
• Consistency in character is key to successful leadership.
• The ultimate test of leadership—creating positive change.
• Quickest way to get to leadership—problem solving.
• Proactive beats reactive any day.
• Three “Rs of prioritization:
• What is REQUIRED of me?
• What will give me the greatest RETURN?
• What is most REWARDING?
• Character will make you bigger on the inside versus the outside.
• The decisions that we make are often impacted by our proximity to the problems that we are facing.
• The heart of leadership is serving people.
• The price tag of leadership is self-discipline.
• Do what you say you will do
• Act on your word
• Changing your thinking changes your habits. Positive thinking will lead to taking responsibility and acting.
• The expansion of leadership is personal growth. We should always have a desire to grow.
• Be reassuring to others who look up to you as a leader.
• Keep the desire to be more growth-conscious alive.
• All these traits can be learned. It doesn’t all have to be inherent.
• The day you think to yourself that you want to be a leader, you need to step back, trust your team, and empower them to do what you set out to do.

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