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There are many ways to become an industry leader. Still, the root of all significant influence comes down to one thing: are you the kind of leader that you would follow? These are the questions I asked myself, especially as we began our successful clothing company. It is only through personal reflection that I realized that there were certain traits that I, too, had to develop to become a significant leader in my industry. Not every leader starts out perfect — they work to become as effective, as influential and as knowledgeable as possible.
It can be difficult to become a true leader because the challenges along the way might become cumbersome and even more challenging than people might expect. Yet, that is why you develop your leadership skills: to handle adversity and lead the way for others.
However, if you follow the same principles described in this article, you’ll see your own leadership capabilities develop and how you as a new leader can move from individual to company influence and then to the ultimate goal: a new status as an industry expert.
How to develop yourself
Many people often think it’s a matter of industry knowledge that makes people strong leaders. However, it’s much more straightforward than that. It’s a matter of knowing where they are lacking and then having the courage to develop these skills. People must genuinely understand what to develop within themselves, which involves looking at every facet of their life and understanding what needs to improve. It all comes down to a few critical areas:
Taking care of your mental health: Your mental health is not just a matter of eliminating anxiety or depression, but it’s a matter of the mindset you carry with you every day. Having an innovative attitude and developing this will be the catalyst for organizational change, which has been proven for nearly any career stage. So, work on your mindset first, and the rest can easily follow.
Practice optimal wellness and create healthy routines: The most important thing I’ve discovered as a business leader is the importance of optimal physical health. For me, this means having a morning routine to ensure I start the day off properly. I work out, I have a nutritious breakfast, and I even meditate. You will see significant benefits from creating a routine and practicing it consistently.
Develop and create resilience within: Resilience is one of the traits that I believe any leader should have today because, without it, no leader could overcome the challenges that might arise. The journey to true leadership is like climbing Mount Everest. It is a long and difficult journey, but it requires you to lean into every challenge and become stronger because of it. When you develop resilience, you become a stronger individual, and you overcome even more challenging situations. As a resilient leader, you grow, you learn, and in the end, you become a better leader and better person for it.
How your leadership can become a positive influence
Whether in your managing position, as an executive, or even as a company CEO, you might start to notice that people listen to what you have to say, and they value what you have to say. This is when you begin to see the effects of your leadership development. Here are a few tips to help with allowing your own leadership skills to become a positive influence in your environment:
Study up on your industry: You should always be learning. Influential leaders set themselves apart from others by remaining informed of current events, trends and news happening in their market and industry. When you do the homework and remain on top of the latest information, you will see significant changes in how much of an influence you have as you become an expert.
Speak up and contribute: One of the most important tasks as a leader is to speak up and contribute. This is a matter of sharing your knowledge, sharing ideas with the group and creating solutions to problems that might arise. When you speak up and contribute with the knowledge you’ve acquired, you will see a significant difference in how people regard you and how much progress occurs.
Work on your emotional intelligence: Working on your people skills will only further add to the foundation you’ve created as a leader. By working on your people skills, you will network more effectively, make strong connections for joint ventures and even delegate tasks more effectively. When this happens, productivity increases. Whether you’re in a managing position or the head of the company, you can still create a significant influence.
Measuring effectiveness as a leader
People can be influential without being effective — and for all the wrong reasons. However, if you have found that you have become a strong, influential leader through your own development, you’ve likely seen your own effectiveness in action. But it is important to know how effective you truly are. Here are a few ways to measure whether or not you are effective as a leader and how to improve it if you find yourself in a more challenging position:
Are you leading by example? One question you should ask yourself as a leader is whether or not you are leading by example. Are you contributing in the manner that you would find effective if you were your own employee? Are your subordinates following in your footsteps and thus creating positive change? These are things that people need to ask themselves because this is one of the top skills of an effective leader. To be influential and effective, it should be a top priority to measure by reflecting on the impact you have on your firm.
Is your team remaining productive? Another critical question is whether or not the team is remaining productive. Are there hiccups and challenges that arise that you find yourself unable to work through? Are you disengaging and not contributing, thus accidentally causing a challenge for your team? These are all issues that should be dealt with. With your influence positively helping others, people can make more effective decisions and create effective teamwork.
Is the organization effective at problem-solving? Another significant issue is that organizations might find themselves in a position where problem-solving is becoming less effective, which could result from several different issues. It could be rooted in some of the issues regarding team dynamics. Still, you have to ask yourself as a leader whether or not this is anything that you could influence. You should find out if there are ways you can help them become more open-minded and collaborative. This is where leading by example comes into play. Problem-solving and team cohesiveness shouldn’t be an issue as long as you lead by example.
Why leadership development is the root of industry influence
Industry influence does not happen overnight. As I have experienced in my career, it happens after many further developments as a leader that give people the tools to not only influence but to increase firm effectiveness. The benefits you likely will experience as a result of your own leadership development are astronomically beneficial — not only to you but also to your company and your industry.
By developing yourself and focusing on becoming a positive and effective influence, people can see companies becoming industry leaders. True leaders will develop within these organizations, and people will begin to look to them as industry experts. When this happens, this is the true sign of success for any leader.
If you’re serious about truly becoming a leader, follow these tips. Truly focus on how you can help develop yourself and become an influence for progress and productivity in your organization, your team, and ultimately, your industry. Then you will truly understand what it takes to become an industry leader.