Becoming an Influential Leader
By Alan L. Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax)
Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen and Co., LLP
Who are the most influential business leaders the world has known? Would it be a CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation? Maybe it is someone that is not as well known; someone within your community who has set an exemplary example of leadership. Some individuals have innate qualities that make them born leaders, while others have to work hard to develop these qualities and attributes. If you want to be a successful leader, you can start by developing your own leadership skills. The following qualities and attributes may be ones that you can begin with:
1. Listen Intently – In order to be a successful leader, you must care about the individuals who are under your direction. How do you do that? You listen to them. Sincere listening can be difficult at times. When frustrations are surfaced by others and different opinions you are expressed, it may be easy to ignore the speaker or quickly change the topic. However, when you do listen sincerely, the individual who is speaking will feel that you value their opinion.
2. Carry yourself with confidence – When you look in the mirror, it is important that you see a friend, someone you trust, someone you believe in, and someone who you know will make a difference in the world. Take advantage of opportunities to increase your confidence. Presenting at firm retreats, training new employees, or simply going to lunch with a co-worker can help stretch yourself and become more confident around others.
3. Develop integrity – A leader with integrity attracts others to them; they are well-liked and trusted by those whom they do and don’t know. They inspire others to live lives similar to their own.
4. Be willing to work alongside those whom you lead – How many of us possess the innate quality of work within us, but fail to exercise it? Society at times tricks its citizens into the fallacy that you do not have to work for what you earn. A true leader will not only delegate tasks and watch others work, but they will work alongside them.
5. Be committed to goals that you set – For a committed leader, there is no gray area between the black and white. An individual who is committed will not give up until a job is done; they will not walk away when a task becomes too hard; they will stick to the cause until it is finished. As a leader is committed to a project or goal, they will grow in levels of respect and trust for those whom they have influence over. In turn, those individuals will desire to strengthen their own commitments.
6. Be accountable for what you say you will do – A true leader establishes a system of accountability for their actions. They do not blame others for their mistakes, but demonstrate that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.
7. Be Positive – Individuals who are positive will attract others to them. Look at the glass as half full instead of half empty.
8. Communicate Effectively – Your communication skills are always on display. Others will judge and determine if they desire to work with you. Become an excellent communicator, a better listener, and develop persistence.As you work to develop leadership skills, you will become a better leader in your work environment and in your community. Seek for opportunities to develop your leadership skills.