Regardless of your title or position, you can lead from wherever you are. Here are a couple of important steps that will help you become a better leader:
Be the Example to Model
In leadership, your example is not the most important thing; it is the only thing. I call this exampleship. People will do what they see, not just what they hear. If you’re like me, you would rather watch a leader than to just listen to one. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
We frequently hear the advice that you should lead by example, when the reality is that you are already leading by example. The question to ask yourself is: “What example am I setting for the people around me?” If you want your organization to succeed, it’s up to you to model the attitude, work ethic, and resiliency that you want to see in your colleagues. Leadership begins with the person in the mirror, which is why we must all work on self-mastery and defeating the enemy on the inside. Once you do, you will become the example that inspires the people around you.
Most people are accustomed to living in their comfort zone. The challenge is that your potential lies outside of it. Your current comfort zone represents the plateau of your growth. Great leaders have learned to routinely move beyond their comfort zone and into their growth zone. Doing this doesn’t require you to take absurd risks, intentionally embarrass yourself, or sacrifice what is important to you (that is known as the danger zone).
Great leaders never stop expanding their comfort zone. The challenge is that by nature, we want to remain comfortable. Stretching yourself to become uncomfortable will force you to become greater than who you are today. Once you embrace the growth zone, things that used to feel uncomfortable will become comfortable, similar to the experience of learning how to ride a bike.
To get an idea of where to start, ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time you did something for the first time?
- What is one thing you can do to expand your comfort zone?