Four core skills for being a leader in your own life
Whether you’re old or young, there are some key skills that will help you become a leader in your own life; take control and be the person you want to be.
At what age can you take steps to make yourself a leader in your own life?
Answer: any age. That’s right; it’s never too late to acquire new skills or even brush up on ones you already have.
This is top of mind for me at the moment because we are launching an exciting new course, called the ‘Be You’ Teen Empowerment Program. We’ve taken all we’ve learnt over many years of training and put it into a course designed to help young women move forward in their lives with confidence, consciousness and compassion.
However, reflecting on what we’re teaching teenagers reminded me how important these skills are to everyone of all ages, not just in the workplace but in all aspects of life. Some may seem obvious, but for that very reason we often neglect to work on them.
Yes, this is a big one. I think a lot of us like to believe we are self-aware, but in fact most of us struggle at times – one survey found that only 15% of people are self-aware.
As I’ve written in my blog before, horses are great at helping us with this, because their feedback is non-judgmental, honest and immediate. Many times, I’ve seen people realise, through working with horses, how their behaviour is impacting themselves and those around them.
Do you rely too much on force as a manager? You’re not going to be able to drag a 500-pound horse along.
Do you not work very well with team members? Your horse might simply walk away.
Trying to think hard about your behaviour and how it impacts others, listen to and act upon feedback and making sure you’re acting in line with your own core values are all ways to improve your self-awareness. Even if you’ve done this in the past, a regular stock-take is a good idea.
I really believe confidence is a skill everyone should focus on developing.
When I talk about confidence, I don’t necessarily mean those who are the loudest when talking about their achievements, or the most bolshie.
True confidence to me is the ability to focus on your goals, act with purpose and back your decisions. The truly confident also have the strength to trust and nurture those around them.
Listening and hearing are very different. Listening is a skill and to do it well, it takes practice. Do you pay attention to what someone is saying, or just wait for them to finish speaking so you can add your own comment?
Again, this is something our horses highlight when working with them – if you don’t ‘listen’ to when they’re trying to communicate (which they do through body language), they’ll not feel safe, they will not want to work with you – and it is very hard to ignore a 500kg team mate.
Everyone’s communication styles are different, but learning to actively listen is worth the investment and will lead to more genuine connection with others.
Compassion is a skill shared by great leaders, but to be a leader in your own life it is necessary to demonstrate care for others and understand that everyone’s point of view is different.
And, there is the old saying: what goes around comes around, so showing compassion should bring happiness back to you.
What skills do you draw on to be a leader in your life? Let me know in the comments.
For information about how our leadership courses can help you develop core skills, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org