Being a leader can be hard work. So hard, in fact, that many people give up on developing their leadership skills early in their career. Leading and managing are difficult, and they certainly are not for everyone. For those who are thrust into a position of authority, whether you feel that you are totally prepared or are scared out of your mind, I have put together a short list of tips that I have learned along the way. This list is not comprehensive, nor is it going to make your life easy, but keeping these thoughts in mind might just help you along in your journey to becoming a leader.

Doing More With Less – In the business world, you do not always have the resources you need to get the job done. In many cases, you have to use one person to do the work of two people, while you may have to do the work of three. This is part of being a leader. You have to use what you have to accomplish your goals, because no matter what the excuse, not doing so is not an option. Hunker down, get it done; find the root of the issue and fix it.

Embrace the Ups and the Downs – Every job has its ups and downs. Being in a leadership position is stressful, and there are times when you may seem to spend more time at work than you do at home. The more you concentrate on the downsides, the unhappier you will become, and the less effective you will be as a manager. Instead, you have to embrace it as a part of the job and move on. If you want to be a professional football player, be prepared to spend 90% of your time away from home: you can’t sit around the locker room complaining about it.

Never be afraid to do something that is not in your job description – In an entry-level position it is a big no-no to say “that’s not my job.” Why should it be any different as a leader? Inevitably, you will come across a situation where someone above you (or sometimes in the same position as you) either makes a mistake and misses something, or is flat out lazy. As a leader, you cannot be the one to miss it. If you see it, solve it. This same concept goes in reverse. If your subordinates did not complete a task, then you cannot simply “leave it for the next guy.” If you see it, solve it.

Everyone above your paygrade is dangerously clueless – The title sounds harsher than it is. The people above you are usually in that position because they have experience and have proven that they know what they are doing. In many cases however, they may be a bit disconnected from your current situation. You may hear things like, “How much time do you really need to get this done?” or “This is the correct way to do that.” These things are said, not to make your life harder, but for the sake of the organization. Still, a bit of healthy paranoia is a good thing. Remember, not everyone will be a leader - some are just managers.

Don’t underestimate the value of a good wingman – Along the way you will almost always find one or two people that will ultimately make your life easier. Whether it is a subordinate that just gets the job done or colleague that can help you with an issue that you are having trouble with, build professional relationships. This will help you down the road.

Embrace the local leadership – When you are new to town, you tend to gravitate towards people that have been there longer (hoping to learn more about the area). The same is true in businesses; entry-level employees will almost always gravitate to the senior leadership. They may be a team member that has been working with the business for three years, or manager that has been at the same location for ten years. This is not to say that the locals are always right; if you can change their way of thinking, then you will change the entire environment of the organization.

The devil is in the details – Being in a leadership role can be overwhelming at times. You often have so much to do and so much to think about that you forget to breathe. When this happens, you miss the details. You miss the important deadline or you forget to call a lead. Sometimes you have to take a step back, breathe, and watch. You may be surprised at the details you missed before.

Keep a sense of humor when things get bad – You have to have a sense of humor. Irony is everywhere. Don’t get so caught up in the stress and the flow of every day life that you miss out on the hilarity of daily minutia. It is ok to have a laugh every now and then; it will keep you sane.

Author's Bio: 

I am a restaurant manager from the mountains of North Carolina. This career has afforded me a unique outlook on life. I am committed to helping my staff reach their full potential and I hope to do the same for my readers.