5 Steps to Develop Your Leadership

What makes a good leader? I’ve been asked this question several times – and the simplest answer I can give is to be yourself and do what comes naturally. But often individuals are looking for steps they can take to become a better leader – so here are five steps I recommend taking to develop your leadership. (Note: I cover this in even more detail in chapter six of my book.) Remember the not-so-great bosses you’ve encountered.

The moment you read this, I’m sure at least one boss came to mind. As you think about the bosses you’ve had who have left something to be desired, make a list of the negative qualities they had that made you dislike them. In other words, what did they do – or didn’t do – that drove you nuts?

Imagine your perfect boss.

Next I want you to envision the complete opposite – your perfect boss – someone who leads flawlessly. You may have had some awesome bosses in the past that come close to this standard, but remember, we’re striving for perfection here. Make a list of all the positive characteristics you can think of that contribute to this person being your ideal boss.

Conduct a self-review of your leadership characteristics.

Now let’s switch gears completely and take a few moments to do some self-reflection. As you think about yourself as a boss and a leader, what are the qualities and characteristics that you think you bring to the table? While it’s fun to start with the positives – don’t leave out the negatives. Self-awareness is a big part of leadership, so it’s important to dig deep here.

Compare your lists and make adjustments.

You’ve got three lists – the not-so-great boss, the perfect boss, and your leadership characteristics. Now it’s time to compare them – do any of your negatives match up with the bad memories of former bosses? If so, it’s time to take measures to address them to ensure you don’t succumb to those traits. What positives from your perfect boss’s list are missing from your leadership characteristics? Could you be more intentional about incorporating some of those in your leadership?

Know your leadership style and ensure it’s a true reflection of yourself.

The number of leadership styles out there today is countless – for the sake of simplicity, I want to focus on three primary philosophical schools of thought – transformation style of leadership, authentic leadership and servant leadership. If you aren’t familiar with these, I will encourage you to visit my blog post, Which Leadership Style Are You? Chances are as you read, you’ll discover one of these matches more of your leadership characteristics than the others. Don’t put yourself in a box, but do allow yourself to relate to a leadership style. It’s essential that this style be an honest and true reflection of who you are – your sincere self. Faking it is exhausting – and those you’re leading will see right through it.

What makes a good leader? In the end, genuine, sincere leaders are the best leaders. These few steps can help you discover what striving to be a good leader looks like for you.