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How to Be a Leader from the Inside
Not Only the Outside

By Paula Hicks

Having a leader position does not make you a great leader. Executive presence is important, but a leader should not be characterized by the outside only. It is the leadership readiness and internal side that determine his success and effectiveness.

‘When people meet a leader, they get an impression based on what the leader looks like, i.e. his external side. It takes only minutes afterwards to form the impression that sticks – the one based on his character, intentions, intellect, and point of view. This is what characterizes a leader,’ – says Hugh Thompson, expert at the cheap essay writing service EssayWritingLand.

Both are important and there is an overlap between them, this is true. A leader must communicate well and look professional, but external presence doesn’t suffice when it comes to leading others. People need a person who can make an impact from the inside, not just the outside.

If you want to be a great leader in every sense of the word, there are some specific skills that apply to any leader in the world. These are the qualities you need to possess to be a leader people look up to.

1. Prioritize

Leading others gives you many tasks and obligations. More often than not, you won’t be able to oversee and track everyone’s work and performance. It is simply not manageable for one person and yet, it is the job of a leader.

If you want to succeed as a leader, you need to work smarter, not harder\. Otherwise, you can spend all the time you have and still not finish the most important tasks. If you want to maintain a position as a leader and be seen as one, you need to learn to prioritize the important and eliminate the rest.

2. Ask Yourself Three Questions

There are three questions you should ask yourself in order to develop a leadership presence:

  • What values and beliefs do you have? Determining these will drive your behavior and make you more successful. It is only by standing behind strong beliefs that you can build relationships and partnerships with important people.
  • Are you a leader or a follower? Many leaders allow their followers to lead them. Adjust the way you interact with others and think about it. If you want to serve others, focus on listening and supporting them. If you want to lead them without asking questions, be the fierce leader you aim to be.
  • Can you build trust in others? Trust is essential for efficiency, communication and productivity. If you know how to demonstrate competence, are connected and care, maintain reliability, and act with integrity, you can be a grand leader.

3. Adapt to Challenges

Successful leaders aren’t approaching new challenges without confidence. When faced with something new and unfamiliar, they research and connect the new with the old, develop a set of skills they might need, and simply use courage to get to the desired goal.

Your actions won’t be more successful if you tremble while they are being completed. But they will be more successful if you approach them as a leader and encourage others to adapt to new challenges.

4. Don’t Rely on Luck

The mistake many leaders make is attributing the success to luck. Your success isn’t based on luck only. If you achieve something, you achieved it because you worked hard or chose the right path. Acknowledging this will make you the greatest leader who people want to follow. This is the way to make others trust your ability to lead them on the right path.

5. Know That you are Unique

No matter what your leadership style is, believe that you are one of a kind. A great leader is different from the rest because he is one – the leader who people follow. If you don’t believe you are unique, don’t expect others to do so.

This also means that you need to focus on being yourself. If you keep trying to be someone else, you will never stand out in the crowd. Just because something worked for others doesn’t mean it is the best thing for you.

6. Don’t Self-Handicap Yourself

In the life of a leader, failure is a part of the deal. Sometimes you will try hard but still fail for some reason. This is not the time to rely on negative beliefs that hold you back. Whenever your attempts fail, remove the negative beliefs and keep trying. People will expect you to pick them up when they fail, not the other way around.

When you are positive, your behavior and actions will encourage and motivate the rest.

7. Support Other People’s Successes

There is one misconception that causes the failure of many leaders – the understanding of power. Don’t think that being a leader means that you are the one who holds all the cards. Without others, you can’t be the leader. Therefore, being a leader from the inside means that you need to support the success of people around them. Make others feel appreciated and successful and you’ll be successful, too.

8. Address Dysfunction

If your current methods don’t work, change them. Test other methods. It is sometimes essential to address dysfunction in a team with changing policies and holding a strong stand with confidence. As a leader, you must adapt. But if there is dysfunction in the team, you must lead others to adapt, too.

9. Challenge the Status Quo

Being a great leader requires understanding of the status quo. Yes, you should definitely maintain the status at times when it is necessary. However, to make an impact, you need to challenge this status and find a way to make a difference.

10. Keep Learning

Leading others may be a dream come true. Feeling as if you’ve reached the top is natural when you achieve something as great as this, but this is not where your learning journey ends. If you want to lead a competitive business, learning cannot end for you. You need to keep learning to remain ahead of the curve, grow and change together with the team and the company.

11. Be Available

The spot at the top if often lonely, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to get out in the crowd. Many leaders isolate themselves thinking that they shouldn’t become too close with the rest to maintain that outside picture of a great leader. To be a great leader from the inside too, you need to always be available and accessible. A good leader understand how important communication and connection with the team is and promotes it on a regular basis.

12. Hold Yourself Accountable, Too

As a leader, there is no one else to hold you accountable. This burden is left to you, too. Not only should you hold other accountable for their actions, but you should also evaluate your choices and admit when you make a mistake. Accountability needs to be consistent on every level – including that of the leader.

Leadership shouldn’t just show from the outside. The proportions of good leadership go inside-out, not vice versa. Outside appearances are truly important, but the beliefs, intentions, values and actions is what make for a great leader.

Paula Hicks is an experienced journalist from Romania. Currently, she lives in the United States and works as a freelance editor for a number of educational resources. Her big dream is to open a publishing house in Europe.

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