Opinion: Seven Ways to Become a Great Leader

Photo credit: Kivodaily.

Anyone can learn the skills of heading a team

A leader is someone who can inspire, motivate, and encourage others with their personal qualities. Leaders are seen as more tolerant than managers, though managers have their own professional and particular ways of working with people.

Most people dream of being a leader but some believe they can’t be leaders because they do not own a company or corporate business.

On the contrary, leadership is possible for everyone to various degrees. We lead people according to our roles, ages, knowledge, and responsibility.

For instance, prime ministers lead the country to carry out their roles and responsibilities. At a lower level, a student leader can lead their group to study or carry out tasks set by the teacher.

In this case, the student leader takes the lead because he or she is the outstanding one and more mature than others.

These examples show that all of us can lead others, according to our duties and opportunities.

If you are now inspired and motivated to become a leader, you have to consider factors that will help the quality and effectiveness of your leadership.

These are personal characteristics, knowledge, experience, relationships, teamwork, quality of time management skills and intuition.

Personal characteristics is the first thing people consider about leaders. You must be a role model for your followers in terms of how you behave in society.

It is important to be courteous with everything you do. You must speak politely and respect other people. Being honest is another aspect of your personal characteristics. Never lie to your followers.

Being proactive is the best principle. This is habit number 1 of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen R. Covey. In this regard, consider yourself as being in charge of whatever you do.

Secondly, having good personal characteristics is a basic factor. It takes qualified knowledge to guide followers to manage the tasks they are doing. Education to gain knowledge and a degree, training to become a capable leader, and learning from others are the main ways to understand leadership.

Trying to think win-win is the best way to build your capacity, and this principle is the fourth of Covey’s seven habits.

This habit urges you to believe that the best choice of for both parties to win. Without thinking win-win, there is no harmony with your tasks. That is why thinking win-win is a helpful principle that leaders should consider thoroughly and apply accordingly.

Another factor leaders should have is experience. Leaders must learn from their experiences whether something is good or not. Once they realize which experiences lead to success, they can encourage their followers to put them into practice.

This is similar to the seventh habit: sharpen the saw. This means people have to develop themselves by learning and gaining experience from others in society.

However, they can also share unsatisfactory experiences for their followers to learn from.  Leaders inspire followers to apply good experiences and avoid unsatisfactory ones.

Fourthly, leaders also need good relationships and good communication with their followers. Communicating well with followers will lead to a smooth relationship and avoid trouble later. Have a proper talk. Do not just use gifts or drink to keep your relationship. Use the qualities of being respected, honest and fair to each other instead. Your relationship is the only way that leads to communication and for things to work.

Fifthly, working as a team is another aspect in the workplace. Teamwork means everyone achieving more by standing together.

That is why leaders work with others to make an impact and achieve success. Being a good team worker is priceless.

If you are a good team worker, you participate, contribute, share, initiate and lead the team to success too. You can participate in discussions with your team and share your opinions about tasks. Furthermore, you can also initiate and lead new projects or tasks, showing that you can take the initiative with your great leadership.

Sixth, time management is one of the crucial skills leaders need. Leaders have many tasks to deal with, so they have to manage time well. They must set goals and plan ahead.

Habit two of the seven habits is that leaders set their goals and plans before starting projects or tasks.

In Cambodian culture, we also have such as principle: “think before you draw”. Therefore, leaders have to consider every aspect of a task before taking action. They can use schedule/timetables, checklists and notice boards to display their tasks chronologically. Doing this helps them manage their time effectively and efficiently.

Finally, intuition is also essential for leaders. If they have good intuition, they can understand things that will happen to themselves or their team. This also means they are good predictors. They know what is going to happen and can prepare and manage the issues they face. This contributes to leadership but you need to apply all seven factors to be a truly effective and efficient leader.

Chueng Pich is a mentor teacher working under MoEYS. He is also a teacher of English working for a private institution in Phnom Penh. He gained his BA in TEFL, BA in English for Communication, MA in English, and M.Ed. in Mentoring.

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