Are you feeling a little stagnant in your career at the moment? It’s not an uncommon experience. After a few years in the same position, things can begin to seem stale and the thirst for a new challenge may present itself.
If you’re hoping to level up to leadership level but don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. For that reason, I’ve chatted with Sam Cawthorn – Young Australian of the Year and author of People Follow People: The 12 characteristics of an influencer leader – to ask his thoughts on what it takes to climb that ladder.
Here’s what he said:
What makes a good leader?
Cawthorn shared that leadership goes beyond a title. The gig, he explained, is rooted in your ability to guide and inspire others.
“A good and influential leader is someone with a strong character, charisma, and who is ready to stand up for the truth and for the best outcomes of people around them,” Cawthorn shared.
He stressed that no matter where your ability or goals lie, the most important element in leadership is your integrity.
“People want to follow people who stand up for something beyond themselves and stick true to their word through thick and thin. So, no matter how you want to develop leadership skills, remember that your integrity and values should be at the heart of who you are.”
If you have leadership in your sights, what skills should you be developing?
In terms of general skill, Cawthorn explained that you’ll want to focus on your decision-making abilities and build your experience levels in keeping a level head during times of stress. He also shared that “many people think of leaders as lone wolves”. This, he emphasised, should not be the case. If you want to be successful in any venture, you’ll need a stable and reliable community around you.
“For developing leaders, don’t try to do it on your own. Reach out to mentors and people around you who you respect to check in with them regularly and heed their advice as needed,” Cawthorn said.
Cawthorn also pointed out that it’s key you remain grounded throughout your journey. “Confidence and charisma are great assets for leadership, but arrogance will quickly pull you down,” he said.
Is there a secret to finding success as a leader?
In a nutshell, there are three things Cawthorn believes you need if you want to be a successful leader in any field. Those are:
Loyalty – “A good leader generates a deep and sincere loyalty in their followers; and is earned through what they do or say.”
Longevity – “Leadership isn’t just about temporary influence. Instead, a strong leader will persevere through tough times with focus and determination; ensuring their leadership is characterised by consistency for the long term.”
Legacy – “Great leaders take that loyalty and longevity to create a legacy that will last beyond their career. Their actions will demonstrate value long after they are out of the public spotlight.”
Mix all that together, and you have a pretty incredible foundation for your progression into that leadership position you have your eye on.
Best of luck, pals.