Famous businessman Jack Welch once said “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader,success is all about growing others.”

When you think about it, everybody is a leader, in some way, to somebody. Just because you don’t have the “manager” title at work doesn’t mean you’re not a leader of a family, volunteer group or church. As we welcome the New Year, this is a great time to look at leadership with fresh eyes and apply some of its principles to our lives, both home and business.

To help exemplify Welch’s words in your path to stronger leadership, consider the following:

  • Become a better listener—The best leaders are also the best listeners. Express true and genuine interest in what someone else is saying to you and don’t look at every pause in their narrative as a chance for you to jump in. As the old adage goes, “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.”
  • Avoid disconnection—A good leader is rarely aloof and inaccessible. Detachment in leadership can easily lead to disenchantment amongst the very people you are charged with managing and inspiring. Alexander
    the Great led his armies into battle, charging with them at the head of the phalanx. Take a lesson from history and do the same for your friends, family and business associates. Talk with your people, find out what matters to them
    and what makes them tick.
  • Express gratitude—It’s so simple that it is often overlooked, but kindly acts of gratitude leave lasting impressions with people. If you must, over the phone or via email is better than nothing. But cannot replace the sincerity of a warm smile, handshake and spoken “thank you.”
  • Don’t rule out new ways to do things—Every idea or new thought, even constructively critical ones, is a starting-point to a better way of doing things. A thoughtful leader recognizes there’s almost always a better way to do things and that’s what counts, not who gets credit for the idea.
  • Learn, learn, learn—Avail yourself to multiple potential sources of new knowledge. Read books, magazines and blogs that pertain to your field. Consider taking a course, listening to a speaker or participating in a group function if it’s likely to help grow your mind. We live in a rapidly changing world and the last thing you want to be is a VHS leader in a Blu-Ray world.

Being a leader is rarely an easy job, but its potential rewards are limitless. As we enter a New Year, look for new
opportunities to prove your mettle as a leader at home, work and abroad.