Some people in life are leaders. Some aren’t. At one point, many of us face the question of whether leadership could be the right path for us. It may be that you’re offered a position of power at work. Or, maybe you’ve been asked to lead a group in your free time. If you’ve never considered yourself a leader, such propositions lead to hard decisions. No one wants to fail in a pursuit, so you need to be sure you’re up to the challenge. Opportunities like these are your chance to make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with following behind others. The chances are, though, that you won’t make major ripples that way. If you want to make a difference to the status quo, being in the front seat is the best way to do it. But, how do you know if you have what it takes?
HAVE YOU GOT THE SKILLS?
In the early stages of your deliberation, you should consider your skill points. We all have things we’re good at, and these often dictate our position in life. Find where your strengths lie, and whether leadership fits with them. It can help, first, to find out what makes a good leader. There are certain points that we would all agree can make someone right for the role. And, if you fall short on a few of them, it may not be right for you.
Charisma is important first and foremost. People like leaders with personality and charm. You don’t have to be the next Martin Luther, but you need to get people on your side. Consider whether people warm to you. Are you a friendly, approachable person? Can you hold the conversation at a dinner party? The best leaders can hold people’s attention in the palm of their hands. Pay attention to the people around you next time you speak. Do they doze off, or hang on your every word? Other skills that will help are honesty, the ability to communicate ideas, and delegation skills. Of course, all isn’t lost if you don’t have these things. Every skill can be learned. If you find that you’re disappointed after falling short on some counts, you should go for it anyway. Your disappointment is a sign that you want the role. Watch how other leaders do things to allow yourself to mimic their behavior!
WHAT ABOUT THE KNOW-HOW?
Of course, bare skills aren’t enough to carry you through. You also need to know how to use them. Plus, you need to have some understanding of how to be a leader in the first place. No one knows the ins and outs when they start in a new position. The difference with leadership is that there’s no one above you to ask. Instead, you’ll be very much flying solo. Which is why it’s worth learning everything you can before making your decision. Turn to the leaders around you. Ask if you can shadow them for a day, and take note of everything they do. Turn, too, to influential leaders that have come before. Watch Youtube videos of speeches and take note of any important mannerisms.
It can also help to do some research about the roles you’ll be expected to perform. You could take this all the way, and do something like an online organizational leadership masters if you’re willing to put the work in. You’re sure to know what to do once you’ve got one of these under your belt. If you need to act faster than that, you can do plenty of research on the role of a leader. Plus, you can use your common sense. The chances are that you know a lot more than you think. Consider what roles you’d be expected to perform. Job delegation, dealing with colleague complaints, and organizing meetings will be part of your routine.
DO YOU HAVE THE DRIVE?
When you look to leaders in any walk of life, they all have one thing in common; they’re extremely driven people. And with good reason. People with drive get results. They set their sights on a goal, and they do anything to achieve it. Leaders like these get things done. If you don’t have the drive to be one of the high-flyers, the job isn’t for you. Of course, we all want to improve ourselves. Extra responsibility can be a good thing. But, if you don’t have the desire to pursue things all the way, it will reflect in your work. Nothing’s worse than lukewarm leadership. You need to be willing to go above and beyond to get work done. If you don’t have the drive, the commitment won’t seem worth it. As such, you won’t perform as well as a leader should. It may sound harsh, but it’s true. Even if you haven’t considered leadership before, you could change your thinking. If you want, you can give yourself that drive. But, you should never take a leadership role without willing to fully commit. It’s a sure way to failure.
COULD YOU COPE WITH THE PRESSURE?
One thing all leadership roles have in common is that they come with bucketloads of pressure. You’ll have a team under you, and responsibility on your shoulders. You’ll need to be able to cope with stressful situations on a daily basis. And, you’ll need to do so with ease. No one likes a leader who flaps under pressure. You’ll need to stay calm and collected and make major decisions in the blink of an eye. If you cope with stress in most aspects of your life, you’ll be able to bring that skill to your work. If however, you suffer from anxiety or are quickly overwhelmed, you should think again. Some people thrive under pressure and produce their best work. Others crumple. We all want to be happy at work, so it’s important to decide which group you fit into. If you make the wrong choice, leadership could become your nightmare. So, make sure to choose wisely!