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How to Become a Leader in Your Field

by Lois R. Earles
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When you can show you are a leader in your field, you can show that you are the best at what you do, and therefore you can be trusted to offer good advice and excellent products and services. Or, if you choose to work for someone else and not yourself, you can have your pick of positions in the company you want to work for. Essentially, being the leader in your sector means that you can have a lot more choice over where your life goes.

Of course, becoming a leader or expert in anything is hard work and will take time, but the rewards will be impressive and certainly worth it if you are willing to put in the effort. Here are some of the things you need to do if you want to become a leader in your field and enjoy the many options that would give you.

Experience

No one is going to be an expert at anything overnight. Being an expert means that you have plenty of experience and can use that experience in any situation you need to come up with an answer that works for you and everyone else.

Experience comes in many forms and includes formal qualifications, what kind of work you have been doing, and how well you do it. Plus, other elements count towards your experience as well, including life experiences. When you add all this up, the experience you get can make you an expert leader.

Soft Skills

Being a leader in your field is more than telling people what to do, and it’s more than knowing what to do yourself. When you are a leader, you need to engage your soft skills as well as any learned skills. In this way, you can position yourself as an expert, but you can also guide and inspire your team, helping you to become a leader in your field. If you don’t use these important soft skills in your leadership exercises, all you are doing is issuing a set of instructions, and not everyone is going to respond well to that.

Soft skills include:

• Emotional intelligence
• Nonverbal communication
• Conflict resolution
• Time-keeping
• Organization
• Listening skills
• Flexibility
• Self-reflection

The Willingness to Learn

If you are to be an expert in anything and then use that expertise to guide and lead others, you must always be willing to learn. If you can continue to gain more information about your chosen sector, you will find that you can continue to be at the top of your game. As soon as you think you know everything, someone else who does know more (because there is always more to learn) will get ahead of you, and you will lose your prestige as the expert in your field.

There are many different ways to ensure you are always up to date when it comes to your sector. Excellent ideas include reading blogs and following other experts on social media. You can also read books, attend workshops, or even go back to school to study. An online masters degree in computer science could be ideal for boosting your knowledge of cybersecurity or IT infrastructure, for example. It will also give you another qualification to prove your expertise.

Know How to Teach

Being able to communicate verbally and non-verbally is a hugely important soft skill for being a leader and an expert. However, it is also important to know not just how to communicate but how to communicate in the right way. In other words, when you want to be a leader in your field, you need to know how to teach people. When you can do this – and it is a specialized discipline – you can help them understand exactly what it is you want from them and give them the information they need to know why they have to do it.

A good leader is one to whom their team knows they can go for assistance when need be. If you make it your mission to teach your team at every opportunity, they will be able to see you as a leader, an expert, and someone to look up to. Not only that, but you will gain a good reputation for your business or the company you work for, and ensure that high-level candidates apply for any future jobs because they know the leadership team is exceptional.

Start Your Own Business

If you want to be seen as an expert and a leader in your field, one of the best ways to do this is to start your own business. Of course, you will need to have the expertise, experience, qualifications, and knowledge to back up your business and keep your customers happy, but this would be ideal for showing that you know your sector well and can do the work required of you.

If you are ready to take on a management role, but this feels impossible in your current situation, then the only other option is to start your own business. It might be a daunting prospect, but it’s something that could prove to be the very best thing you do in your life – it will simply depend on how much time and effort you are able to put into achieving your goals.

Guest Speak

Not everyone wants to start their own business, even if they have plenty of knowledge and experience. They might be just as happy to work for someone else. Yet if you want more people to be aware of your expertise and your experience, and if you want more people to acknowledge your qualifications and listen to what you have to say, you could become a guest speaker.

You will probably have attended many conferences in the past, and you will have listened to guest speakers giving information and offering their expert opinion on various topics. If you could do the same, you would find that you were able to reach many more people, and over time you would gain an excellent reputation as an expert leader in your field.

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