Here are ten tips for people with leadership aspirations to help you explore your potential.
Strategically Know When to Take Risks
A leader may sometimes be required to take risks. Not taking risks may feel safer, but ultimately you may always wonder "what could have been." As a leader, it may be useful to ask whether you have the ability to determine when a risk could yield a return on investment that makes it worthwhile. When the outcome of taking a risk isn't as you'd hoped, it may provide opportunities for learning and growth.
Continue to Develop and Invest in Your Professional Skills
Are you developing your skills and investing in your professional future? If you're not developing yourself, you're not growing. As a leader, continuing to invest in your skills and knowledge may make it easier to do your job and inspire those around you to continue to grow.
Build on Your Strengths
Everyone has strengths; as a leader, it's important to determine yours and maximize them. As you choose your career path, building on your strengths may help you grow faster. Don't default to the opportunities around you. Instead, consider whether an opportunity aligns with your strengths and interests in order to potentially grow faster and have a greater impact on those around you.
Don't Forget You'll Make an Impact
Leaders often have an impact on the people around them, whether it's the customers they interact with or the employees they lead. Think about leaders you've worked with who have inspired you, motivated you, or at the other extreme left you with a negative impression. Actively choose the impact you want to make on those around you to support your leadership aspirations.
Continually Ask Questions
Learning to ask questions can be a powerful skill for people who aspire to be leaders. Many see leadership as authoritative and telling people what to do. However, the ability to ask good questions allows you to help guide people through the process of determining what's best for them. Asking questions may also allow leaders to broaden their perspective and gather information on the issues that they care about from a variety of sources.
Reflect on What You've Learned
Leaders may benefit from taking time to reflect on what they've learned. One strategy is journaling. By keeping a log of what you're doing, what you're learning, and other important factors, it provides you with the opportunity to think critically about being a leader. Journaling may help leaders to understand what they're learning, as well as create a roadmap for future improvements.
Prioritizing your workflow can help you focus on both your most important aspirations, as well as those tasks that are immediately in front of you. If you're someone with leadership plans, learning to prioritize may help you prepare for a time in your career when you have more projects and responsibilities on your plate.
Know When Collaboration Makes You Stronger
Achieving something on your own may be satisfying. Yet leaders may benefit from knowing when to collaborate and ask for help. Outside help, advice and constructive criticism may help you look at situations in whole new ways. Partners can bring different skillsets and perspectives to the table that help you lead stronger projects.
Be Willing to Experiment
Leaders shouldn't be afraid of taking a non-traditional approach to solving a problem or getting something done. With few exceptions, there's not one single way to achieve a goal. Instead, critical thinking and problem solving may lead to unexpected growth, innovations and improvements.
Think About Work – Life Balance
Leaders can easily get caught up in all that they have to manage. Yet work – life balance is a widely discussed topic. It's easy to get burnt out when all you do is work. Many leaders may find that they're able to be more successful when they balance work with family, friends, hobbies, outside interest, volunteering, or rest.
These habits may also help you – as a student and in the work force.