A leader by definition is “one that leads or guides.” From this broad definition alone, becoming a leader sounds fairly simple. However, being a great leader is a not easy. Great leaders are not distinguished by their title, authority or seniority, but rather their ability to influence others to accomplish the seemingly unattainable.
Here are five tips on becoming a great leader based on Herzing University’s P.R.I.C.E. of Success:
Professionalism: It’s important to keep your emotions in check, especially when you encounter challenges in the workplace or classroom. If you don’t act professionally, your team members could be discouraged from taking you or your work seriously. Everyone makes mistakes, so as a leader it’s your job to analyze problems with a clear head and a calm, objective manner. Professionalism can also mean dressing smartly, being on time and getting your job done with precision and care.
Respect: Trust and respect often go hand-in-hand. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to earn your team's trust. When your team members believe they can trust you, they might be more likely to come to you with their problems and be willing to communicate more openly. You could earn trust by being more involved in your team members’ everyday professional and personal challenges. Once your team members trust you, earning their respect can be easy – simply conduct yourself with integrity and model the type of behavior that you expect from others.
Integrity: It’s important to be clear and honest with your team. Your team is looking for you to handle heavy challenges and to have an honest approach to problem-solving. Having integrity can also mean that you accept responsibility for any consequences that might arise as a result of your actions.
Caring: Great leaders are invested in their teammates’ work and learning. You can become a better leader by encouraging and motivating your peers to achieve their goals, whether it’s a classmate who is striving to learn more than the required course material or coworkers who are thinking about expanding their skillset.
Engagement: Never undervalue the importance of listening to your team members. Being engaged and communicating effectively is imperative to your success as a leader. Engaging with those around you sends a signal that you are genuinely interested in what others have to say. Communicating and engagement is a two-way street, so allowing others to give feedback and influence the outcome of a goal also allows for a better overall team dynamic.
College is a prime time to learn leadership skills from your professors, mentors and classmates. In addition to applying the P.R.I.C.E of Success model to everything you do, you can observe true leaders in action at work and at school. Being a great leader doesn’t happen overnight, but you can start now!