If you are someone who has always wanted to become a leader, you probably have a few role models that you want to emulate. However, this can be easier said than done. No one takes the same path to becoming a respected leader or thinker, and it’s likely that the people you admire started in a different place than you are. While you can certainly learn from their example, you may need to take different steps to get to the place you want to be. The tips below will help you do that whatever your current situation.
Identify Your Goals
First, you need to identify what leadership means to you and what you ultimately want to do with your life. If you hope to become a business leader in your small hometown, you’ll take a very different path from someone who wants to become the CEO of a major company, the president of the United States or a respected independent thinker with a podcast and a newsletter following. Be as specific as possible about what your goal is and identify the steps as well that you will need to take to achieve it. These can also become goals that you reach along the way to your main objective.
In addition, consider why you want to be a leader in the first place. What do you hope to accomplish as a local business leader, a CEO, a president, a podcast superstar or whatever else it is that you want to be? What changes do you want to implement, and who do you hope to inspire? As important as it is to have a goal so that you’re pointed in the right direction, make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of focusing on the goal itself rather than the journey. Remember that achieving the goal is not the endpoint but a new beginning. The journey along the way will give you the wisdom and tools to succeed in your new role.
Achieve Financial Independence
One thing you may notice when you read about great leaders and thinkers is that they usually were not scrambling for money. Money isn’t the most important thing in the world, but if you don’t have any, you are limited in what you can do. Financial independence can give you other kinds of independence, including the independence to walk away from any job or employer that does not suit you. You should start investing now to build enough wealth to become financially independent. It’s important to build strong credit along the way, which allows you to qualify not just for loans and housing but for some jobs. You can learn more about how to build your credit by reviewing a guide and using tools that can help you improve your score.
Build Your Skills
On the road to becoming the leader you envision; you need to build certain skills. When you consider the skills you’ll need, it’s important to understand that being a leader is less about you and more about your relationship with other people. Therefore, you need to build skills that are about understanding others. One is communication. You need to be able to not just speak clearly and explain things well. You must have the ability to inspire people. Empathy is another. You must understand how people are feeling and why they do the things that they do, and you also need to be able to convey that you understand them. You’ll need to learn how to build a sense of trust between you and other individuals. Other important skills to develop include problem-solving and managing conflict.
Work With a Mentor
Having a mentor can teach you an enormous amount. Depending on what you are looking for, your mentor may or may not be someone who works in your industry. You might connect with someone through a formal mentoring program, or your relationship might be a more informal one with someone you admire. A mentor should do things such as help you define and make progress toward your goals and broaden your professional network. They shouldn’t tell you what to do in any situation, but they can offer advice and guidance based on their own experience. In some cases, this can end up being one of the most important relationships of your life.