I received President George W. Bush’s book “Decision Points” as a gift for Christmas. As someone who is a history buff and enjoys reading about how president’s think, I was eager to dive in. There have been 44 men that have led our country and each one was different from the other. All have had their own difficult decisions: war, economic uncertainty and political turmoil.
As I read “Decision Points,” two things continued to strike me: Leadership requires good listening skills and trust in those around you. Whether it’s the oval office or your PR firm, success can be determined by how good you are at trusting your instincts and having a team of solid, critical thinkers. It is also what should appeal to you when interviewing for a job as well.
How do you build up your own leadership skills? It’s simple. Never stop learning and listening. Presidents aren’t experts and neither are senior level PR pros. But, they choose employees and advisors that (hopefully) help strengthen the country or a firm. In turn, they add to a leader’s skill set.
Here are five ways you can become a better, stronger leader:
1) Open your mind– Don’t believe the first thing you hear. Research and understand both sides of a story or person.
2) Think, Think, Think- I firmly believe that you shouldn’t make snap decisions when it comes to life and career. Look at all your options.
3) Respect your competition- See what they do right and don’t criticize them in the process. Set the standard for doing it right… your way.
4) Make it happen- People want to respect you. Give them a reason to do so and follow-up on mails, phone calls, promptly. Receive a business card from someone? Drop an email to show you respected the time you chatted.
5) Be yourself- Don’t put on an act because people can see through a fake. Be the same person you are when presenting at a conference, in the classroom, or over the phone.
Leadership doesn’t happen overnight; it’s developed and nurtured. The only way to start on the path to being a good leader is starting right now.
Whose leadership qualities do you emulate? How are you setting the stage for being a better leader? Let me know in the comments.