7 Life Lessons to Help You Become a Better Leader

7 Life Lessons to Help You Become a Better Leader

by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

Leadership is not a position or rank that someone is given–it is a quality that is developed. And while there are many different life lessons that can help you become a better leader, here are seven of the most important ones. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an effective leader who inspires others to succeed.

  1. Be decisive – make decisions quickly and confidently
  2. Lead by example – set the tone for your team by working hard and being respectful
  3. Communicate effectively – be clear, concise, and consistent in your messaging and listen more than you talk
  4. Stay positive and upbeat – maintain a positive attitude even when things are tough
  5. Encourage others to speak up and share their ideas – create an environment of open communication
  6. Embrace change – be willing to adapt to new situations and challenges
  7. Don’t be afraid to take risks – sometimes the best opportunities come from taking a leap of faith

Be Decisive

In your personal life, being decisive may mean knowing what you want for dinner and being able to make a quick decision when presented with different options. But as a leader, being decisive takes on a whole new meaning.

As a leader, you’re responsible for making decisions that will impact not only yourself but also your team, your company, and even your industry. And while it’s important to be thoughtful and consider all of the options before making a decision, it’s just as important to be able to make a decision quickly and confidently. If you hesitate or second-guess yourself too much, it can send the wrong message to your team and give them the impression that you’re not really in charge.

There are times when thoughtfully weighing all the options and taking your time in making a decision is the right approach, but as a leader, you can’t always afford to do that. In many cases, you have to trust your gut and make a decision quickly.

Of course, being decisive doesn’t mean that you should never change your mind. If new information comes to light or someone on your team makes a good case for a different course of action, don’t be afraid to adjust. The key is to be flexible and adapt as needed while still staying true to your convictions.

A leader who isn’t decisive risks losing the trust of their team because they appear indecisive and uncertain. People want to follow a leader who is confident in their ability to lead and is willing to make difficult decisions.

Lead by Example

One of the most important life lessons for leaders is to lead by example. As a leader, you set the tone for your team, and your actions will speak louder than your words. If you want your team to be respectful, punctual, and hard-working, then you need to demonstrate those qualities yourself.

If you’re lazy or disrespectful, that’s how your team will be. But if you work hard and treat people with respect, your team will follow suit.

You can’t expect your team to be engaged if you’re not putting in the effort yourself. You have to lead by example and show them that you believe in the purpose of your work and are committed to achieving your goals. When they see you working hard and giving your all, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Communicate Effectively

Leaders need to be able to communicate effectively. That means being clear, concise, and consistent in your messaging. It also means listening more than you talk.

People will only follow a leader who they feel understands them. If you’re constantly talking at people without listening to their concerns or ideas, they’ll tune you out. People need to feel like they’re being heard, and they won’t do that if you’re doing all the talking. But if you take the time to listen to what they have to say and show that you value their input, they’ll be more likely to trust and respect you.

In order to communicate effectively, leaders need to be able to adapt their style to fit the situation. One-size-fits-all approaches rarely work. The best leaders are able to tailor their communication to fit the needs of their team and the situation.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is infectious. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude even when things are tough. As the leader, your team will look to you for guidance and motivation. If you’re constantly negative, they’ll start to feel down as well. But if you stay positive, they’ll stay positive too.

Your team will take their cues from you, so if you’re positive, they’re likely to be positive. But if you’re negative, they’ll probably be negative too.

A positive attitude doesn’t mean that you should ignore problems or pretend everything is perfect. It just means that you should approach challenges with a positive mindset and look for ways to overcome them.

A positive mindset means believing that you can find a way to succeed no matter what the obstacles are. It means approaching challenges with a can-do attitude and knowing that you have the power to make things happen.

Encourage Others to Speak Up and Share Their Ideas

It’s important to create an environment of open communication. That means encouraging others to speak up and share their ideas. The more voices you have, the better the decision-making process will be. And the more ownership your team feels, the more engaged they’ll be.

Leaders need to create an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up. That means being open to hearing different points of view and encouraging debate. It also means being willing to change your mind if someone has a better idea.

The best leaders are those who are able to listen to others and take their ideas into account. They know that the best decisions are made when all voices are heard.

Encourage Change and Growth

Change is inevitable. And the best leaders are those who embrace it. They understand that change is necessary for growth. And they’re willing to take risks to make it happen.

People often resist change because they are afraid of the unknown or they are afraid of failure. But the best leaders are able to help their teams overcome that fear and adopt a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that you can always learn and improve. It’s the belief that there are no limits to what you can achieve. And it’s the belief that failure is just an opportunity to learn and grow.

The best leaders are those who accept change and encourage their teams to do the same. They understand that change is necessary for growth and that without it, they’ll never reach their full potential.

The best leaders are also those who are able to adapt to change. They understand that the world is constantly changing and they’re able to adjust their style accordingly.

Change can be scary, but it’s also exciting. It’s an opportunity to try something new and see if it works better than what you’re doing now. As a leader, you need to be able to adapt to new situations and challenges. If you’re resistant to change, your team will be too. But if you embrace it, they’ll follow your lead.

Be Brave Enough to Take Risks

Leaders must be brave enough to take risks. That means being willing to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. It also means being open to failure.

Sometimes the best opportunities come from taking a leap of faith. If you’re too afraid to take risks, you’ll miss out on a lot of great opportunities. But if you’re brave enough to take them, you’ll be rewarded with success.

The best leaders are those who see change as an opportunity and are willing to try new approaches to old problems. They’re willing to experiment with new ideas. And they’re open to feedback so they can learn from their mistakes.

Leadership is all about taking risks. If you’re not willing to take risks, you’ll never achieve anything great. But if you’re able to take calculated risks and learn from your mistakes, you’ll be a successful leader.

The above life lessons are just a few of the many that can help you improve your leadership skills. Being decisive, leading by example, maintaining positivity, encouraging communication, staying positive, encouraging others to speak up, embracing change, and being brave enough to take risks are all important qualities for any leader to possess. By following these life lessons, you can set yourself up for success in any leadership role you may find yourself in and inspire others to achieve great things.

Do you want to be a better leader?

We offer online leadership development courses that can help you achieve your goals. Our courses are designed to help busy professionals and anyone who aspires to be a leader.

Our courses are packed with information and resources that will help you become a better leader. We cover topics such as providing purpose, communicating effectively, engaging your team, and many other hot leadership topics.

Click here to find out more about our online courses.

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

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