5 Thoughts on Becoming a Leader

February 20, 2013 — 18 Comments
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Drew Tewell, author of the book The Dream  Job Program: Get the Job You Want. You can purchase it on Amazon, or get it for free when you subscribe to his blog. You can also connect with him on Twitter   and Facebook. If you would like to be featured on this site, click here.

When I was 19 years old, I read my first book on leadership, Be a People Person by John Maxwell. I devoured that book. Today, 15 years later, I am convinced that leadership is crucial if we are going to reach our goals and live out our dreams.

Why? Because if you have big dreams, you will not be able to accomplish them by yourself. You will need other people.

Red leader and business teamHow do you become a leader? I submit to you 5 thoughts.

1. Realize that you are a leader

Leadership, at its core, is about influencing others. It is not about titles. All of us, in one way or another, influence other people. Once you come to the realization that you are a leader, then you can take responsibility for your leadership.

2. Start with yourself

Once you realize that you are a leader, start leading. Begin with yourself. Great leaders lead by example.

3. Learn more about leadership

Learning about leadership will help you grow as a leader. Here is were I would start:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits will help you to lead yourself and begin to work with others.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

The 21 Laws will give you a great primer on leadership by a great teacher.

4. Seek out a mentor

Another way to learn about leadership is to ask someone to mentor you.

You can be mentored through books, audio & video programs, and other resources.

But having a leader who is further along on his or her leadership journey and is able to encourage you and speak specifically to you right where you are at will add another dimension to your development.

How do you get someone to mentor you? Ask. It’s that simple.

5. Pursue new opportunities

The best way to learn leadership is to lead. By pursuing new opportunities you can gain experience and become a better leader.

You can do this through volunteering outside of work, taking on new projects at work, or pursuing other opportunities to take on new responsibilities.

Whatever you do, if you want to be a better leader, do something. And start today!

What are some other ways people can grow as leaders?

  • Thanks for having me over, Nathan!

  • I am seeing a real need for mentoring where I work. As leaders, it is also okay for us to reach out and OFFER to mentor those we see potential in.

    • Audrey

      I would for someone to offer to mentor me! I have a “work” mentor-basically someone with more experience in my speciality- but I would love a “life” or “leadership” mentor!

      • Do you have a formal mentoring arrangement with your “work” mentor – or is this something you are doing informally? I wouldn’t wait for someone to offer, identify 2 or 3 potential mentors and ask them.

        • Audrey

          Right, it’s a matter of meeting the person who’s doing what I would like to do and being bold enough to ask them for mentorship.

          • Audrey, do you know what you would like to do? Who is around you right now? Ask them who does what you would like to do. Then, you don’t have to actually use the word “mentor.” You can simply tell them they are doing what you’d like to do and ask if you could ask a few questions. This link should give some good ideas: http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/mentoring-101/

      • I second Tom’s advice, Audrey!

        • Me too! Audrey, find someone you respect and admire. Let them know you respect and admire them and ask if they could meet for coffee so you could get their advice. Prepare some questions related to why you respect and admire them and go from there. People are glad to give out advice and if not, it’s probably not someone that you want to be mentored by anyway.

    • Right, Tom. No matter if you are the mentor or the mentee, if you think the relationship would be beneficial, YOU should be the one to initiate!

    • The fact of the matter is we may also be able to learn from people younger than us that we would mentor as well.

  • I love the idea of mentors and right now, I have several, both professionally and personally. I’m very excited to see what I’m going to learn next because really, how much can one grow on their own?

    • You’ll grow a lot taller standing on someone else’s shoulders, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing, Vincent.

  • Great steps to becoming a leader. I think personal growth and having a mentor are so important to have.

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  • sespring

    Great article! We all need mentors and to be mentoring throughout our career.

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