Throughout our lives, we have all identified someone we look up to. Someone who serves as a role model that motivates us to be better. While this person may have changed for you over time, the feeling of inspiration often remains the same. When it comes to the workplace, leaders can often serve as those role models. In fact, you may even be someone’s role model. Those who are the most successful in leading others are those who push for greatness in a supportive way. They don’t dictate. These leaders are engaging and draw others in. So how do you become the person you hope others will look up to? The steps toward becoming a leader that your team will respect and appreciate may be closer than you think.
Communication and Commitment
Unfortunately, some leaders automatically get the reputation of being unapproachable. Whether true or not, perception is reality and communication is key. One way to counteract this, is to do something as simple as asking an employee how they are or saying good morning to employees when you see them. This is an easy way to show that you are genuinely interested and easily approachable. Successful leaders are those who are direct in their tone, yet clear in communicating their expectations. Keeping team members in the loop and emphasizing that you are always there, creates a culture of transparency and honestly. Others will reciprocate and take your lead. After all, you can’t lead in silence.
Listen and Learn
Regardless of how much you may think you know, no one is expected to know it all. Think of some of the most important things you have learned throughout your life and how you got to that point. I guarantee listening and learning were involved one way or another. When leading a team, think of them as your most important assets. You are all there together, driving towards the same mission and vision, contributing positively to the organization. People should not feel afraid to ask questions, or when they do speak-up, employees shouldn’t feel minimized. In fact, listening to what others have to say could, and most often does, lead to bigger and better ideas. Regardless of the situation, you will gain far more from listening to others rather than putting all the pressure on yourself to come up with new ideas. Not to mention, your employees will feel valued. It’s a win-win.
Create and Celebrate
If you ever find yourself following the “failure is not an option” guideline, failure is not only going to be inevitable, but it will also distract from how you learn from mistakes. Believe it or not, a healthy amount of failure is a good thing, and how you choose to control or handle it, can benefit both the organization and your team as a whole. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, consider creating solutions for your failures and even celebrating them. Successful leaders create successful teams. When you allow room for failure in your organization rather than discouraging people, you encourage the creation of solutions and innovation. You show your team what it means to take accountability and responsibility when things don’t go as planned. So, if you want to create a high-performing team, failure actually should be an option.
Position and Purpose
Without a team, there would be no leaders, and without leaders there would be little motivation to grow. In the same way that you look up to your role models, your team is viewing you in a similar light. Great leaders encourage their team to not only feel like they are important in their position, but that what they are doing is truly making a difference. This type of encouragement will also benefit the entire organization too. Leaders have the ability to create a meaningful impact for their teams. They genuinely want to see their employees grow. They recognize personal development. The most successful leaders don’t do it for the power or the title, they do it because they love what they do. Don’t ever let hard work go unnoticed or unappreciated. You might be surprised how positively your team responds.
Overall, being an influential leader means much more than getting people to do what you ask of them. It is about how you encourage others to see their full potential, and how you provide the necessary steps needed to get there. Over time, good leaderships skills are learned, implemented and carried out within an organization, but those who are able to turn the lens inward and demonstrate those skills, creates a focus on maximizing performance and achieving organizational and team goals. It’s important to remember that as leaders, we all have a choice as to how we show up for ourselves and our teams. Every morning, ask yourself “what kind of leader do I want to be today?”