Despite popular opinion leadership is a learned skill rather than a gift that was bestowed upon some people at birth. Granted some people do have a more natural knack for leading, but it is due to our past experiences that give us the courage to step forward and take charge.
In the instance of someone who declares to be a non-leader there will be many instances in their past where they received negative feedback or were held back by others. This undermining is fairly natural to growing up as we learn and our personalities are shaped. The difference is an unbreakable belief in our abilities creating a positive self-image that allows people to rise to the challenge despite their fears. This belief is reinforced over time as the leader is shaped, formed and learns new skills.
Make no mistake a leader is afraid, especially when they take those first steps, but their past experience has taught them that they can be the leader despite the obstacles and possibility of failure. Fear but, without self-doubt, mixed with confidence and self-purpose. So if you have previously not been a ‘natural’ leader, how do you become one now?
It is OK to make mistakes
John Maxwell – notes that leadership could well be defined as failing forward. All leaders have failed and the greatest leaders have failed the most. The defining moment occurs seconds after our realisation that we have failed and the path to greatness lies in how we handle those few seconds. Recognise that our ‘knee-jerk’ response to a situation is not always the right reaction and we can learn new behaviours to replace the old negative responses.
Relive your past
Our past experience shapes todays thoughts and actions. If you are clinging on the all the baggage and failures of your past, your future will be marked with hesitation, timid behaviour and fear. Endeavour to let it all go, leave the past behind and replace the negative experiences with positive memories. Move forward focussing on the positive and determine to create more memories that will boost your self-image.
Don’t let your mistakes undermine your core self-image
There is a tendency to relive the mistakes over and over like probing a sore tooth. The result is that the failure just gets more painful and our minds start generating a host of negative self-depreciating thoughts. Learn to analyse the error calmly and critically whilst protecting your core self-image and then move on.
Get out of your comfort zone
There is no growing in your comfort zone and no comfort while you are growing. Leaders are more exposed than followers but the rewards are greater. We are all leaders but if you haven’t tried your first attempts will be challenging. Take small deliberate steps and find situations where you can practice the craft of leadership. You don’t have to try to take over the company or start a power struggle with your boss – Team Building Activities provide a safe environment to score a few leadership points. Look for opportunities on a day to day basis that will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and take on the challenge.
Praise your progress
Whenever you accept the challenge and step out of your comfort zone you have already achieved something great. Despite the outcome, take some time to congratulate yourself, however small the step.
Keep looking for opportunities that will challenge and stretch yourself and just like climbing a mountain happens one step at a time, you will one day be rewarded with a remarkable view.