According to the Workplace Trends’ Global Workforce Leadership survey, almost half of the employers who took part noted that leadership is the hardest skill to find in employees. While this may be hard to believe, talent alone is not enough to be a great leader, this skill must be developed and you need to have the right mindset.
Most people don’t start their careers at entry-level expecting to be treated as a lead or a manager, so they don’t train their brains to perform these roles. However, if you are now in a position to become a great leader within your company, it’s time to start thinking like one. Here are seven useful tips to train your brain to become a great leader:
Prepare for Change
The actions and thoughts we have every day take the form of habits which can be seen in the brain. When something forms a habit, you do it automatically, freeing up your thought processes for other things. However, once you stop thinking about your habits, you also stop adapting your actions for the most efficient results. In order to reshape your brain for leadership, you must start by shaking up your habits and beginning the process of adaptability. Start by questioning your automatic actions at work like where you park, how you begin your day, even who you assign to certain tasks. Analyse your choices and make changes for what is best right now rather than when you formed the habit months ago. Even a few small changes will prepare your brain for greater adaptability in the future.
Develop a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset allows you to look at the world in terms of changeability. Rather than accepting the way things are and have been, look for ways to change your workplace and routines for the better and don’t be afraid to make suggestions. Good leaders don’t just make decisions when they’re asked to, they are also constantly improving the environment and efficiency of their team.
Use the Present Tense
When you think about things in the future tense, like “Things could be…” or “I want…”, you get used to feeling like they will be in the future. Instead, start thinking about the things you want to be true to yourself and at work in the present tense. You’re not going to be a leader tomorrow or a year from now, you are a leader today. When you say to yourself “I am a leader” every day, you’ll start thinking and acting like a leader.
If you have settled into a rut at work, now is the time to notice and make a change. Become aware of everything you do by habit and reassess it all. Determine what is still a useful default and which behaviours you can change to optimally adapt to how things are today rather than whenever you formed the habit. Look for opportunities to lead in the workplace, from taking charge of projects to becoming captain of a company sports team, now is the time to stretch your wings. Start thinking bigger and you will become a better big-picture leader.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Leadership is all about being able to share what you have, whether it’s materials, ideas, or just your time. [/pullquote]
Practice Making Decisions
The brain has two forms of decision making: long-term and short-term, and practicing both will enhance your leadership abilities. For long-term decision making, you’ll want to define the problem you’re solving, carefully gather all relevant information, consider all possible solutions and consequences, and finally choose the objectively best decision. Short-term, on the other hand, is based on quick value judgments based only on the information available at the moment. For these, you start by considering the results of your prior decisions, consider possible impacts, gather information and then decide based on a combination of instincts and logic. Leading at work includes many long-term decisions and vital opportunities to lead during short-term crises.
Be Grateful for Everything
Leadership is all about being able to share what you have, whether it’s materials, ideas, or just your time. To do this effectively, first, you need to appreciate what you have to offer and know that there is plenty to go around. The best way to do this is by remembering to stop, appreciate, and be grateful for things like the resources available to you, the talents of your team, and every time something goes according to plan. This will improve your ability to value your assets in a leadership role.
Start Offering Your Help
Finally, as you successfully reshape your brain into the configuration of an aware, adaptable, active, responsive, and value-driven leader, it’s time to share the wealth. Appreciate your own skills as much as those of the people around you and see where you can offer assistance. As a leader, your goal is to help others win because their success is also your success. Mentor new employees, share your best techniques with teammates and find creative ways to improve the overall productivity of your team.
Once you have mastered the mental practices of leadership, you will soon realise that these qualities were always inside you. It simply took the right thought patterns and self-assessment to reach them. As you move into the future, remember never to become complacent and to analyse the practicality of your habits on a regular basis in order to keep your brain limber and always ready to tackle the next leadership challenge that comes your way.