Businessman climbing mountainLeadership —whether it’s in the workplace, in the classroom, or in the comfort of your own home, this one word is detrimental in helping shape who you are (and/or will become) as a person. And with so many varying criteria on what constitutes a true or great leader, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly “how” to display this skill in your life.

At work, especially if you’re in management, being a leader can mean directing your team, of if you’re an employee it can mean following rules and getting the job done even when your co-workers aren’t doing the same. Academically, being a leader can mean anything from skipping that everyone-who-is-anyone-will-be-there party to spend extra time studying for an exam to challenging a professor’s ideologies when others dare not. At home, your actions and speech can lead-by-example of how you want your children to act.

Being a leader can mean being and doing different things, but, no matter the definition, one universal aspect of leadership is the ability to be magnetic. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines magnetic as possessing an extraordinary power or ability to attract. As a leader, you should be magnetic in your approach, attracting others to you and your talents.

Want to know how you can develop this power? Take notes from a magnetic leader herself —Dianne Durkin. With more than 25 years of experience in finance, direct sales, international marketing and training and development, the president and founder of Loyalty Factor, and author of The Power of Magnetic Leadership, Durkin knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a great leader. Check out her 10 critical steps to achieving magnetic leadership:

Dianne Durkin - Queen of Loyalty 2013

Dianne Durkin

1. Develop Your Vision. Make sure you have a vision with the purpose and values to make it real. State where you are going clearly. State your purpose simply.  Express your values – the things that you use to guide every action people take at work – directly.

2.  Identify Your Leader Type.  Knowing who you and what type of leader you are helps you and others identify where, when and how to best behave and act to focus their energy to achieve the goals and objectives you set out for them.

3. Track Your Leadership Development Progress. Keep a leadership log to document what you do and what happens.  Review what happens regularly. Reflect on what you are learning and how you are changing.

4. Recruit and Retain the Right People. Identify what makes individuals successful in your culture, and recruit for those skills. The culture will keep them loyal and happy, and exceed all expectations. Improve your interview and listening skills so you can hear what your employees are saying. Document and take immediate action when you identify something that needs to be improved.

5. Engage, Empower and Enrich Your Employees. Invite employees to become part of your vision. Empower them to be a force of change and be enriched by your culture. Make your employees part of the solutions, by giving them a role and the responsibility for implementing solutions to major business issues.

6. Create a Work Environment that Fosters Creativity and Innovation. Go beyond simply improving the physical environment.  Focus on how people feel to work there. Evaluate the energy when you walk the floors.  How connected to their teams do virtual or remote workers feel? Make changes to ensure that the work environment fuels your objectives and helps to achieve your goals.

7. Appreciate and Reward Your Employees.  Develop and deploy a schedule that regularly and meaningfully rewards employees to create a culture of appreciation. Assess and improve the way you reward people so that you are sensitive and responsive to the differences in age, education, maturity, and demographics.

8. Focus On the Things That Inspire Your People.  Identify what inspires you and your employees. Do they need more education and training, more creative time and cross-training opportunities, wellness programs to promote less stress and better health, or even a sabbatical?  Develop and improve the key programs that your people need to stay engaged and loyal.

9. Improve The Most Important Things First. Identify the most significant of your short comings head-on. Identify what is impacting your own progress and what is holding you back. Are you a poor listener, a technophobe, or do you yell and rave?  Admit it. Then take action to get help, fix your problem, and improve your own performance, skills and abilities.

10. Visualize the Future. Identify where you see yourself in 10 years, 20 or even 30 years? Define the characteristics of the leader you want to be and what the future looks like for you. Describe the way you will balance your personal life and that of your organization and its people.  Document how you will build loyalty and trust with your leadership.

Interested to see how Durkin came up with these 10 steps? Check out her exclusive interview with in part 2 of this article.

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