It’s true that everyone has their own career goals and aspirations, but sometimes you may find yourself questioning whether or not you’re on the right path. Perhaps you’ve set your sights on a role that you are now second-guessing and asking yourself if you are truly cut out for it and whether it’s the right path for you. This can be even more pronounced when you decide to pursue a leadership role. While it may sound perfect on the surface, as you start to dig into what it means and what it will entail, it may create seeds of doubt in your mind.
So, how do you know a leadership role is right for you? How do you know you can handle it and have what it takes? Here’s a look at some of the common traits of great leaders in the workplace. Keep in mind many of these skills are things you can learn over time and strengthen.
Do You Have the Necessary Educational Background?
It’s a good idea to look at the practical side of things first. Sure, there are a lot of personality traits you need as a leader, but there’s also the fact you need to understand the role you are placed in. Do you have the educational background necessary to not only step into the job but lead others with your knowledge?
Take, for example, the medical field, where there are different leadership routes you can take. Let’s say you are eying eyeing a job as a chief nursing executive, a chief nursing officer, or a vice president of nursing just to name a few. Well, the proper educational background is certainly going to be necessary. This is where something like the executive nurse leader program through Baylor University online makes sense.
If you don’t have the necessary educational background, what should you do?
- Figure out what it is you are missing or need, and enroll immediately
- Speak to your employer about any additional courses, training, or schooling that they would like to see you achieve before considering you for a promotion
- Don’t see it as a setback, rather it is an opportunity to grow your knowledge base
Do You Get Respect from Your Fellow Employees?
The next question to ask yourself is what reaction you garner from your fellow employees? Do they respect you? Do they listen to your ideas, advice, and instructions? If you aren’t able to rally the troops, so to speak, then it may be difficult to step into a leadership role. This is your chance to work on your intrapersonal skills in the office workplace, keeping things professional and respectful at all times.
Effective leaders are those that don’t instill fear in their employees; rather, they instill respect. This makes employees proud to work for you, which means they are more effective in their job, making you a better and more effective leader. It’s a big circle wherein everyone must be in unison.
Do You Have Excellent Communication Skills?
Then there is the question of communication skills. Some argue this is one of the most important aspects of a leadership role. And let’s not forget communication doesn’t just mean the ability to communicate with others by talking to them, you also need to be able to listen, and communicate through effective written messages.
If you want to beef up your communication skills in preparation of that leadership role, some of the things you can do include:
- Learn when to stop speaking and just listen
- Start looking at how other employees interact and communicate and learn from them
- Get better at reading body language
- Make sure to ask questions to stay engaged in the conversation
- Learn that silence isn’t always a bad thing and doesn’t always need to be filled
- Learn how to find common ground, especially when faced with a disagreement at work
- Show your respect and attention during any interaction
It’s a good idea to use these exercises on a regular basis, even once you do land that leadership role.
Are You Ready to Lead by Example?
Another question to ask yourself is whether you are ready to lead by example. For those that live by the mantra “do as I say, not as I do”, it can be very difficult to lead others. This is not leading by example. It’s all about practicing what you preach and showing employees that you can get behind your own messaging. Leading by example is another way you earn respect from your employees.
Are You Okay with the Tough Decisions and Work?
Often people get caught up in the idea that a leadership role means a higher salary and you have more freedom and control. And while that may certainly be true, you also have more responsibility and often more work. Suddenly the idea of working 9-5 and then leaving all your cares and stress at the office may no longer apply. Leaders make the big bucks for a reason, and you need to be willing to embrace the fact you’ll be responsible for tough decisions and plenty of work.
Do You Enjoy Helping Others?
There is another aspect of leadership and that is the fact you are helping, guiding, and supporting others. In many ways, a leader is a coach who is there to support the team – which are your employees.
How Do You Handle Workplace Conflicts
It’s the subject no-one really wants to talk about but workplace conflicts can occur. You need to ask yourself how well you can handle them and what you would do. Experts suggest some of the steps you should take include:
- Finding a way to quickly de-escalate the conflict
- Give each party a chance to say their piece and explain their side of things
- Stay impartial, it’s not about taking sides
- Stay professional and not let your emotions get involved
- Be fair
- Be decisive in your decision and actions
Embracing Your Career Goals
These are just some of the many traits and skills that can lead to a person being successful in a leadership role.