Do you know the scene in Kung Fu Panda, when the furious 5 are at the fighting ceremony, waiting for master Oogway to announce the next dragon warrior?  Everyone anticipated that it would be Tigress, the infamous female warrior, and before master Oogway had the chance to point at Tigress, Po fell right in front of her. 

Of course, everyone was disappointed, because how can a Panda be the next dragon warrior? Tigress is fierce, poised and experienced, Po . . . on the other hand, enjoys eating Bamboo and making noodles. The two pale in comparison, like chalk and cheese. 

Why this strange analogy you might ask?

 Simply because no one would have ever thought that a fat, blubber of a panda would become the dragon warrior! The same way you may think you’re just the average Joe, with your ideas and opinions swept under the carpet, feeling dull and insignificant. But here is a shocker: Everyone can potentially become a respected leader. It’s the fact that it’s deeply embedded in you, your spark, your initiative and talent to make your entire workplace begging for more of your ideas, opinions and input to make your environment better, bigger and stronger. Forget things like “you’ve gotta believe”, “become inspired” and “you have it in you”! No one can know beforehand. You' ll need to take a leap of faith. So, don’t waste your time thinking, wondering, estimating, doubting. You just need to act upon it, or as Nike says, ‘Just Do It’. 

 Which leaves me with my next point.

Being a leader, it’s not a matter of what your team can do for you but rather what you can do for your team! I am going to briefly highlight some traits for an effective leader in the workplace, so lay back, relax and let’s start transforming.

How to be a leader

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

Self-awareness 

As a leader in the making, first, you’ve got to question the effectiveness you’ll have on your team in the manner you communicate with them. How will you execute your plans and opinions? Would you manipulate, dictate or threaten your team to listen to you, or will you be fair and become more aware of what motivates you and your decision- making? Knowing what you’re like in your surroundings will help you lead a team and eventually earn your respect as their leader. 

Lead with integrity 

By identifying your values and sticking to them. Refusing to compromise your values and treating everyone fairly will go a long way toward gaining respect. Similarly, self-regulated people don’t change their opinions or act hypocritically.

Be open to change

It’s important for leaders to view change in a positive light, seeing it as an “exciting opportunity for self-development” and a challenge. It's not a secret that progress comes with change. Those who cope with change well, are able to prioritise and “get on with it” while experiencing less stress.

Change your negative thoughts into positives 

And now that I mentioned stress, it's a fact, in a work environment, everyone is going to get frustrated somehow. It may be you, it may be someone from your team. What you need to do is learn to turn this frustration to passion and use this passion to influence things for the better. For this, you’ll have to be adaptive, to deal with any problem that will fall your way, but also patient because negative feelings can circulate and can place the whole office under their shade, especially if it's coming from the management. 

Keep calm under pressure

Keeping calm under pressure is an extreme sport in itself! You have a dazzling team of enthusiasts, critical thinkers and opinionated figures. Of course, this could get out of hand if you don’t know how to supervise a team. Being assertive yet respectful will become a massive help for you. Make sure you make it conspicuous of the rules and policies of what you expect each team member to do, and you should be good to go!

Be invested in your team

If you see your fellow teammates struggling, offer a helping hand for goodness sake! You can’t have passengers on your boat if they’re gonna sink, remember you’re a team, it's the team before you. But it’s not only about being willing to help others but also having the hunger to impart your skills and knowledge to others. If you care about and are invested in your team’s development and well-being, trust me, it will show, and you will get the equivalent respect and way more help to achieve your goals than you could ever imagine.