Many motivational speakers and sales trainers pull the phrase “Act as if” out of their holsters when giving people self-improvement advice on how to do things such as boost confidence, win interviews, speak in public or sign new customers. And it works. For instance, if you are a struggling salesperson and “act as if” you are the master of winning new business, your attitude changes, you’ll exude more confidence and you’ll be more relaxed when asking for the order.
This same principle applies to those who wish to become great leaders. If you wish to be a great leader, you’ll not only need to think like one, you’ll also need to act as if you are already a great leader. Even if you don’t have a leadership title, you’ll need to demonstrate strong leadership skills if you want to advance in your career.
It starts with putting yourself in the mindset right now, today, this minute. For starters, you’ll want to be much more conscious of every decision you make, and the consequences of each. You’ll need to ask yourself if each decision was the right one for your company, the right one for your colleagues, and of course, if it was the right decision for you. After all, you have needs and they need to be met as well. You’ll also want to be the best listener you can be. This is very challenging especially when you’re under extreme pressure, but something you’ll need to master. You likely know from experience that when something is going on in your life that is very distressing, it can be very distracting and thus nearly impossible to focus and give people 100 percent of your undivided attention. However, your success or failure as a leader will be largely based on how you perform under pressure, not when everything is hunky dory.
One more thing – if you’re the kind of person who likes to solve other people’s problems, you’re asking for a mountain of stress. And the reason is simple- as a leader, once you brand yourself as the office problem-solver, expect employees to line up outside your door like a convoy of dump trucks waiting to dump all their problems on you lap. And why shouldn’t they? If you’re a willing soul who takes over and solves problems, you’ll have more than enough problems to fix, and you’ll find that you’ll never get your own work done. This is probably one of the most common mistakes managers make, and one that self-induces the most stress. The better option is to teach people how to solve their own problems.
Of course, there are many other leadership skills you’ll need to practice to either improve your leadership style or prepare for a management role within your company, all of which can be taught through a reputable leadership training program. When you practice the skills and people notice your abilities to connect with, influence and motivate other employees, your transition into a leadership role will be much easier and will feel more natural not only for you, but for everyone who wants you lead them.