“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
– Alvin Toffler

Leading Others Begins with Leading Yourself

We are always looking towards the future and striving to reach our goals. And, often, to reach those goals, employers must lead their team to success. There are a few natural-born leaders, the most impactful leaders are those who work to become the effective leaders they can be, and continue working to change themselves as their dreams and goals change. Becoming an effective leader is a challenging and rewarding undertaking.

Powerful leaders lead by example through inspiration and honesty. So, before we can lead others to success, we must first be able to lead ourselves.

Leading yourself

It’s best to think of this process as a journey: where are you going? A clearly articulated goal or vision must be established first and foremost. Consider where the team or company should be in the next year or five. This can be measured in terms of size, metrics met, revenue, or what have you. As long as it’s a vivid destination you want to reach, you can get there.

Doing this requires tools and an action plan with detailed checkpoints. Regina Mellinger, our CEO, has a story in which her plans for Primary Services’ future were definite. And she knew that it would be a team effort. Not just to realize her dream, but to create the infrastructure upon which this dream would be built. Regina knew that it was necessary to invest in the growth of the company’s leaders.

Regina knew that enhancing the leaders’ skill set would enhance Primary. A dedication to continuous learning is crucial to the development of oneself as a leader. This means making a point to learn something new every day. Daily education about news and current trends in your industry or specialty is how you become an expert yourself. You want to become a trusted source for your team to use as a reference. Much like you may refer to leaders who have inspired you.

In fact, if there are leaders you admire, follow them: read their work, attend or watch their speaking engagements, pay attention to their online presence. Take note of how they reach out with their ideas and inspire you and, undoubtedly, thousands of others.

Be bold and take unfamiliar steps. Sticking with what you already know will yield limited development. Beyond strengthening what you already can do, pick up new skills and abilities. Work on skills that may have not, historically, been the strongest. This is what goes into “leading by example”: Showing your team your willingness to step into the unknown for the sake of progress is a powerful way to motivate them.

Leading others

True leaders recognize the value of the interpersonal. Motivation is key when differentiating the between leading and managing. Make it a point to address the wants and needs of your team. Emphasize what you want what they want: Success that results in personal and professional gain, whatever form that may take. Leaders motivate by empowering their team to pursue their goals and endeavor to become their best professional selves.

Becoming an effective leader means leading by example. Demonstrated action towards constant improvement and development lays the groundwork for motivating those you’re leading to do the same. A leader who invests in the growth for themselves and others, invests in the future and the potential it holds.