As with most things, becoming a good leader begins at home. There are many opportunities to hone your skills all the way from childhood. There are many domains of learning. We learn most of our facts in school. We learn social and cooperative skills on the playground. We learn about other places and cultures from books, movies, and television. But most everything else, we learn from home. We learn from our parents and siblings. We learn from the rules that are and aren’t enforced. And we learn from our mistakes. Ideally, home is a safe place to try new things and make mistakes.
Companies spend a lot of money on leadership training. The bulk of that money goes into getting the managers they already have up to speed. Much less goes to leadership development. This might explain why so many companies hire from the outside rather than promote from the inside. It is a tacit admission that they didn’t do a very good job with developing leadership skills. Even if you work from home, you need to develop leadership skills that are portable to other aspects of your life. Here are a few ways to develop those skills:
1. Exercise Every Morning
Home gyms are not assembled all at once. They come together one piece at a time, today, it is a 35 lb barbell. Tomorrow, it is competition bumper plates. Regardless of how you build your home gym, it will do you no good if you don’t use it. One of the best qualities of a leader is their ability to see a task through to the end even when the going gets tough. Starting every day with a workout is a way to build that quality in yourself.
2. Study Successful Leaders
One of the qualities of a successful leader is that they study the habits of other successful leaders. Few people have the time to read as much as they would like. It is hard to squeeze in a book on leadership and your trashy novel guilty pleasure. You don’t have to give up the trashy novel. Just be sure to devote 10 minutes of your reading time to consuming something a little more mentally inspiring. Good leaders don’t make excuses about not having time to do the important things. They find the time. At home, there are countless opportunities to hone that skill.
3. Teach What You Learn
If you want to make yourself a better person, learn as much as you can. If you want to make the world around you a better place, teach someone else what you’ve learned. Everyone has something to teach. Indeed, everyone teaches. It is just that some do it more intentionally than others. A workplace leader has to be a teacher. Truly, it is one of their most important functions. It partly explains why companies are hesitant to promote their top sales people. What they want from that sales leader is to duplicate themselves by training others. If that person can’t teach, they shouldn’t be promoted. Don’t just exist at home. Share what you learn with others around you.
4. Be a Peacemaker
Another thing a leader does far more often than they would like is resolve conflicts. Whenever you manage other people, there will be conflicts. Those conflicts can range from cubicle turf wars to companywide schisms that could destroy the business. Those battles between teammates are the most common. But if you don’t know how to deal with them, they can destroy the productivity of your department. Learn to be a peacemaker at home and it will serve you well everywhere.
Teens are not known for their volunteer spirit, especially when it comes to doing chores around the house. In a family it is important that everyone does their part. But as you know, life does not usually work out that way. There is always a need for people to go above and beyond. You can’t do it all the time. But to become a great leader, you have to be the kind of person who does a job just because it needs doing. When you master that skill at home, you will become the master of your destiny, and a better leader by example for others.
Not every great leader was born that way. They were developed by sticking to a fitness routine, studying successful leaders, teaching others, being a peacemaker, and volunteering to help when help is needed.