“Give me an example of when you were a leader.”
I want to provide you with some tangible ways you can build your leadership skills every. single. day.
Why is this important? First of all, it’s all good and well to list ‘leadership’ under skills on your LinkedIn profile, in your cover letter or on your resume … but when asked “Give me an example of when you were a leader?” – do you have a solid answer ready to go?
Most of us won’t.
By making a genuine effort to implement leadership into your every day … you will come out on the other side of that question a winner (and grinner).
Enviable leaders have outstanding communication skills.
1 // Leaders are able to critique AND be empathetic.
“You didn’t listen to the brief I gave you. The project is not looking like what I asked.”
“I can see that you’ve gone in a different direction to the brief, is there a reason for this? Talk me through it.”
Both of these sentences are critiquing a person’s work. Can you spot the difference between the two? One is hostile. One is welcoming. A good leader will be accepting of ideas, changes and mistakes.
While the first sentence sets up the responder to be defensive (and hostile in return), the second sentence allows the responder to acknowledge that yes – the project does not match the brief or task description – but encourages them to talk through their task process.
2 // Leaders add value, rather than noise, to a conversation.
“We can’t do that.”
“I don’t think that’s going to work.”
“I did this last time and it work, we should just do that again.”
“I love the ideas that are being contributed, but I think we are veering off the main objective.”
“I think the concept of that idea is great. Let’s workshop through it in more detail.”
How obvious are the sentence that add value? A true leader doesn’t have to be at the front and centre of every conversation. A true leader doesn’t think their way is the only way.
In fact, if someone has a solid idea and you shine the spotlight on this – that’s providing value; similarly if you feel that the conversation is veering off-course and you point that out – that’s providing value.
3 // Leaders are able to clearly and succinctly communicate their message, regardless of platform: online, in person or over the phone.
I’ve just had a look at our news article and I don’t think it’s working at all. We need more information on the Bank of generationYOU and their latest project. Can you find more information on this ASAP? Also in our team meeting we discussed these questions. Can we grab quotes from the CEO? How many employers work at the bank? Is the CEO free for a meeting on Thursday? Are there any other banks involved in this awesome project? Anyway let’s have a meeting either in person or over the phone when you are free so we are all on the same page.
You might laugh. Or have a headache. Or skim over the entire chunk of words because you didn’t want to waste your time.
I don’t blame you. But believe it or not – I’ve received emails/texts like this before.
And there have been times where I’ve jumped from topic to topic, and back and forth on projects to people I’ve been talking to.
In our fast-paced, information-overloaded world (and especially in the workforce), it’s best practice to make everything as easy and quick as possible.
So instead of the above, aim for this:
I have a few things to discuss with you in regards to the news article we are currently working on. I’m happy to keep our discussion about this over email or organise a meeting this meeting – whatever suits you.
Overall, I like where we are heading but I want us to include a bit more information.
> Can we find more information on the Bank of generationYOU and their latest project? Exact sale figures, how many employers work at the bank, WHY they started the project?
> Let’s try and get in contact with the CEO to see if he would be willing to speak with us on the project and provide us with a few quotes. I am happy to lead on this.
> Are there any other banks involved in this project? We could probably find out about this online – or ask the CEO.
Let me know your thoughts about the above!!
See. Much better right? You don’t need to take all the personality out of your communication. You just need to ensure that you are being as clear as possible – without any extra fluff! The person on the receiving end will be grateful – trust me.
Enviable leaders know that the ’24/7 hustle’ isn’t the only way to achieve success.
1 // Leaders give themselves a break from work.
I’ll be frank with you, having a full-time job is nothing like uni and vice versa. I know you’ve heard that before. But I want you to understand that when you start a full-time job, if you don’t tune in to your health, then your performance is going to suffer.
Yes, putting in extra hours on one hand will impress your boss, however you need to make time for YOU, for the sake of your sanity. Giving up on your extra ‘you’ things like playing in your football team, walking your dog or attending your art class will leave you with just ‘work’ as your past time (and the only thing to talk about).
See what I mean? That will drive you crazy.
2 // Leaders complete their work in the allocated time frame given.
Okay so you know how at uni we all love to be working RIGHT UP until the deadline? Don’t worry – I was 100% guilty of this.
The thing is, when you jump into the workforce … I recommend staying on top of your workload and producing quality work during the time that you’re given to complete a task.
Be smart about how organised you are. Stay on top of priorities and sort your tasks accordingly. Depending on your workplace there will be an abundance of tools at your disposal to do this, think Trello, Slack, Asana.
Enviable leaders take responsibility for their actions, work and mistakes.
1 // Leaders go beyond just apologising for their mistakes.
Yes, owning your mistakes are important. The next step after owning and apologising for your mistakes (that is often forgotten), is setting into place steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
And I don’t mean sitting down to have a meeting with your Manager to discuss the fault.
I mean – you sitting down with yourself and going through the process of what happened on your own. Because sometimes holding yourself accountable to your own standards, can be scarier than holding them to someone else’s.
2 // Leaders don’t rely solely on their workplace to teach them industry skills.
Move away from the idea that your skill growth is dependant on your workplace! Use your initiative to attend industry events (there’s always free ones), listen to podcasts by leaders in your industry, read industry news. Aim to put in a little extra effort with your career and you’ll notice it will start to make a difference.