Improving as a leader or boss within a company can seem overwhelming because it’s hard to know where to turn for insight. Stepping into your potential sometimes means taking the initiative to create an environment where you can be the best leader you can be by taking initiative and demonstrating that you are the best person to move the company in a positive direction.
Be Self Aware
Always be open to checking yourself. It is so important to be introspective because sometimes it is in those quiet moments when we reflect on our own actions, we find the answer we have been looking for. A good way to be self-aware is to review past scenarios where things could have gone better either personally or professionally and think of what you could have done differently. Was there a moment where you became quickly frustrated with a colleague or where you didn’t take constructive criticism very well? Reflecting on these reactions can better you as a leader if you’re willing to be honest with yourself and learn from your mistakes.
Try creating personal goals for yourself and coming up with strategies to help you in these situations. For example, maybe you are not great at accepting criticism. Some steps to take to improve on this could be taking a breath before responding, listening intently to gain a better understanding, and even asking to have a follow up meeting to discuss the feedback.
Have Situational Awareness
A great leader has a strong understanding of the big picture. This involves anticipating and preempting potential problems before they arise. This doesn’t mean you try to predict the future or try and mitigate every single potential problem but keep an eye out for probable scenarios that would hinder your success.
An example of this would be as a store manager, you see the program you use for keeping track of product inventory is outdated. Although it works for now, you can see that there may be problems down the line. In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, do some research into more current programs and present them to the owner of the boutique. Sometimes it’s just about slightly altering your perspective and revolving your decisions around the mission of the company by asking yourself, “Does this decision align with the company values?”
Actively listening to others is what separates an average manager from a great leader. Your co-workers want to feel seen and heard, and creating a safe space for them to work creates a more efficient workplace. Although it is important to set healthy workplace boundaries, listening to employees’ constructive concerns has the potential to better the company. An issue you may not have been aware of or you may not have seen as being important is being brought to your attention for a reason. Active listening to your team promotes collaborative environments where employees feel empowered and validated to share their thoughts.
All businesses are collaborative, so when one person wins, we all do! Celebrate the small things because we often can get lost in the day-to-day grind. Congratulating your employee on their hard work will inspire them to continue to improve. Also remember that everyone has a personal life outside of the office that can have its ups and downs, so noting their success can make a small but significant difference in their day.
Stepping into your potential as a leader doesn’t have to be difficult or feel like you’re going into the unknown. It’s important to trust your skillset – you are ready for this! No one can be the perfect leader, and there is certainly a learning curve in developing yourself, but the most important thing is to embrace the lessons you learn along the way and make them count as you continue to grow.
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Demetra Maragos – Demetra is a Master of Arts candidate at New York University, who loves thinking outside of conventional lines to combine her passions of everything culture, fashion and lifestyle.
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