Too often people conflate leadership and management. The common misunderstanding is that in order to lead you need a title and authority. The opposite is true of leadership. Leaders don’t need a title to make an impact. Leadership is organic and it happens over time. Once you recognize that you have power without needing permission from anyone, you are on your way to becoming a leader.
When people realize they have the power to become a leader, they often seek out resources to tell them how. They’ll read books about leadership and listen to podcasts that outline traits and characteristics of great leaders. All of these resources are very helpful, but they often don’t answer the “how” question. “How do I become a leader?” A simple question deserves a simple answer, focus your efforts on selflessly helping others and be willing to help solve problems.
Another answer to the “how” question is courage. You must have the courage to fail, step outside of your comfort zones and act with integrity, even if it is unpopular. It’s okay if you find yourself in situations where your heart will be racing and your stomach will be in knots. The thing to remember is that leaders will find a way to overcome that fear and tackle the obstacle. Seeing this courage is what makes people want to follow your lead. (Read more about courage here).
Once you realize your individual power, focus on helping others and solving problems, and build up our courage, the rest falls into place. If people see you as someone that cares about their well-being and someone that can resolve an issue or move things forward, you will gain their trust. And once you develop trust, you’re well on your way to becoming a great leader.
What steps did you take to become a leader? Share your story in the comment section.