What is it that makes you a leader? I’m not talking about a manager; many people meet that criteria based upon the position given them by their employer. Being a manager without being a leader is common, and in many situations preferred by upper management. However, it’s not very rewarding for the manager or for the people they oversee.
Being a leader is about expanding the people around you, not just expecting them to get their job done. Being a leader is more about finding the creative and reproducible ways to help those around you motivate themselves, it’s not about finding ways to motivate them yourself. Empowering people is leadership, having power over people is management (poorly realized).
How do you acquire the methods of leadership instead of management? One thing that I find a consistent truth is that you will NOT find them at work. Work satisfaction and in office personal expansion ARE required for good management skills, yes. However, to add leadership to your tool box, it’s necessary to find another method outside of the office and more importantly out of your safe zone.
Considering adding new certifications to your resume? For better leadership qualities make a large percentage of them in fields that have nothing to do with work. One of the better leaders I know took a love a wine and turned it into a 60-person monthly meeting of local wine lovers trying different varietals and regions each meeting. He’s a scientist (chemist, actually) by trade.
I’m not asking you to take break dancing lessons (although…..). I would start with something you already enjoy and become better at, and most importantly share what you know with people. Find out how you become better at what you enjoy, how to be great at it, and then find the path to show others how to make themselves better at it as well.
Lastly, admit that you will always be learning in this journey and never master it. Also agree to never just manage this journey, because that would just give us a direct path back to the original question.