by David Bohl
Being a leader in your field is a way for you to stand out from the pack, differentiate yourself from your competition, and create a bigger following for your business. You may be a leader of many or a leader of few. As a leader, you are expected to be knowledgeable in your field and demonstrate your expertise and credibility so people will believe what you say and have faith in you–whether you are selling a service or product.
Leadership means taking a position of authority where people look to you for direction– including your clients or a team of contractors or employees, and also including people in your industry who my be fans or students of yours. It means being an innovator, staying on the cutting edge, and initiating change. It means taking risks, speaking your beliefs, and leading and motivating people. You will need to make choices and decisions and take responsibility for each one.
Leaders are born but they also can be developed. In either case there’s a lot you can do to emerge as a leader in your field. Here are some tips:
1. Be the best you can be:
Always strive for excellence in all that you do. Others will look up to you so set an example and serve as a guide, coach, and mentor. Real leadership is about leading yourself first, then leading others. When you’re at your best, you will attract the best to you–whether clients or team members. Your ideal clients and your top level team players will help you build a strong organization. When you know yourself and strive to be the best, you also know how to ask for and expect it of others. When you know how to lead yourself–by staying true to your values and ideals, by setting clear objections, actions, and accountability, and by taking responsibility for your choices and actions–you will be better equipped to lead others. You are the team leader: your clients look to you for exemplary service and products; your employees look to you for motivation, guidance, and fair and honest treatment.
2. Keep up your skills:
Good leaders never stop learning. As a leader in your field, you want to sharpen your skills to keep providing excellent service and expert leadership. Thousands of books and seminars are available to continue to hone your skills. Whether it’s in your field such as accounting, marketing, or manufacturing, or in business and leadership training, there’s plenty of options to keep learning and building your skills. Many leaders also rely on mentors, colleagues, and coaches. A mentor or coach can help you work through any challenges that come up as you emerge as a leader in your field.
3. Stay current in your industry:
Being a leader in your field means you are among the most knowledgeable since you are leading others and providing expertise. In today’s world everything changes so quickly, and leaders must know what is going on in their field at all times. Attend industry conventions, subscribe to industry periodicals, and join an industry organization or mastermind. Keep abreast of your competition to see what new services or products they are introducing and what market segments they are targeting.
4. Get known and know people:
How do people find you? What do they know about you? What are you doing to get known? Is your brand recognition strong enough to position yourself as a leader? If not, get going on your marketing campaign. You must get known by the people in your industry to build your leadership platform. You must build brand recognition to attract your ideal customers. Who do you know in your industry that is influential? Who do you know that can help you grow as a leader through joint venturing and partnering? Where do you go to network so you can get known and know the people who will help you grow your business? Attend trade shows in your industry and meet key people. Attend organization meetings in your target market’s industry.
5. Develop excellent communication skills:
This more than almost anything else is the mark of a true leader. A leader must communicate in many different ways with many different people. You will be communicating through e-mails, direct mail, over the phone, in person, as a speaker, as a writer, and as a presenter at events and seminars. You may do some or all of these. You will be communicating with colleagues in your field, with prospects and clients, with vendors, with contractors and employees, and with other leaders, coaches, teachers, and mentors. Each situation and each person requires unique communication skills. Let this be a priority in your education as you emerge as a leader in your field.
6. Identify your strengths, your niche, your target:
All leaders possess unique strengths and capabilities. What are yours? You need to identify them so you can lead with them as you develop your weaknesses. Are you a great speaker, a prolific writer, an organizational whiz? Once you’re clear on your strongest assets, you need to identify the your strongest niche area and your ideal target market. For example, if you are emerging as a leader in publishing, your niche may be electronic rather than traditional publishing. And your ideal customer may be accountants and financial planners who want to create educational e-books and digital recordings to expand their service-based business.
Become the Leader You’ve Always Known You Were on the Inside. Personal Coach David Bohl offers leadership and personal development coaching with his Intensive Empowerment System – now available in both in-person or virtual formats!