Lead by example
This classic adage is classic for a reason: it makes sense. No matter what your position of leadership is, people are looking to you to see how you handle yourself. You should always promote the good behaviors you’d like to see others display. People who hold others to standards they themselves cannot keep make great hypocrites, but they don’t make good leaders. Providing a good example may take more effort, but it produces better results. People will respond well to your leadership when you prove yourself someone worthy of being followed. Of course, if you want people to listen to you, you should also have open ears and listen as well. Learn to take constructive criticism and to carefully weigh other opinions. A little bit of humbleness can go a long way in earning respect.
Face challenges—don’t ignore them
Courage is great commodity. It’s been said that courage isn’t the absence of fear but rather the willingness to continue in the face of fear. It takes courage to face challenges. It is easier to ignore the issues that you need to conquer, but they will undoubtedly linger. Often, if a problem is left alone, it can multiply and become much worse. Consider a crack in a windshield. It might start off as harmless but will inevitably grow over time if it is not sealed. Courage takes honesty too. Be honest with yourself and with those whom you lead. After all, you cannot fix an issue if you don’t acknowledge that it exists.
In many instances, trust isn’t given. It is earned. It’s always important to remember that earning trust is a process and, for some people, it takes a long time to accomplish. Anytime a person takes a new position of leadership, there will be a transitional period where the leader gets to know those that he or she leads and vice versa. The best way to earn trust during this time is to be yourself. People can spot imitators and fakers from miles away. Would you want to work for a phony?
Similarly, be honest and be patient. Overtime, through consistency and mutual respect, trust will be earned. Once you have someone’s trust, they will follow your leadership willingly and faithfully.
Leaders, by definition, should be trailblazers. They need to set the tone in many situations. The reason people want to follow leaders is because leaders are naturally innovative. Leaders create, renovate and rebuild. They are often the first ones who take the needed actions in various situations. Leaders don’t make excuses, they make progress. Leaders aren’t afraid to fail. Rather, they’re afraid of not trying.