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So you want to become a leader? Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. If nothing were to hold you back, what would you be doing?
  2. What job would you have?
  3. What kind of organisation would you work for?
  4. What tasks would you be doing?
  5. What do you dream of?

Make it happen. Remove the self- imposed barriers in your head. I have regularly asked for the seemingly impossible and got it. Here’s what I have learned along the way.

1. Know yourself and be the best you

We add value in an overcrowded world by being our best self – working with our strengths, not our weaknesses. Get to know your unique and natural passions and advantages – the ones you were born with. Some people like details; some like the big picture and hate details. Some of us must chat with people to feel alive, yet others need heaps of alone time. Some people like routine, tradition and structure, and some like freewheeling…. Know what your natural core skills are and work with that. Wherever possible as a leader, make sure you get the opposite skill set in an assistant to balance you.

2. Express your authenticity

Drive from your authenticity. It feels great, and besides, no one likes a ‘fake’ and they sense it. This is a bit like my first tip, but its got your character infused into your language and behaviour whereas being the best you is about working from your natural skills.

3. Get strategic

Strategy wins. What position are you aiming for – medium and long term? Have a vision even if it seems outrageous. Get accountable to yourself. Write your vision on your wall – read it and feel it. Take up bold and scary opportunities – they will build courage.

4. Walk away from negativity

There will always be negative people in workplaces. Walk away from them as quickly as possible. Do not buy into gossip or people who pull you down. This includes your inner critic – the one we all have. Thank your inner critic because it stops your ego from getting out of control. Stay true to your career strategy.

5. Set your personal protocols

Develop self-care strategies, including finding out what works for you when you are under stress. Stop worshipping busy. Right brain balancing activities are where the best ideas come from. As a leader, choose to see staff and co-workers through their strengths, not their weaknesses – catch people doing the right things and say thank you.

Implement the 80/20 rule. Use it in life and at work. No one is perfect. What crushes many people is their perfectionist streak. Get real, there is NOT enough time and catching up is never ending – so train yourself to do 80/20. You’ll be happier.

Margo Field has been a CEO and now runs her own coaching and advisory business www.margofield.com.au. She also consults to GPTQ utilising her background in general practice gained from working at RACGP, GPRA and GPSA. Feel welcome to be in touch with her: margo@margofield.com.au