3 Tips to Sound More Like a Leader

If you want to be respected as a manager, you have to talk the talk. But in this age of corporate buzzwords, it can be hard to sound like the manager you want to be, or to be respected for the leader you already are.

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(Photo Credit: Hamed Saber/Flickr)

"One of the keys to become a more effective leader is to monitor how others react to what you say," writes Anita Bruzzese at The Fast Track. "For example, do you feel you're not really being 'heard?' Do you hear that employees are finding you harsh and insulting? Or customers report finding you arrogant? Any of these reactions is a sign that your communication needs to be improved."

Bruzzese offers a list of mistakes that can undermine the perception of you as a leader. We'd also add:

1. Don't ask permission, or apologize -- take responsibility.

For every article that tells you apologizing looks weak, another says that not apologizing makes look insecure. The bottom line is, fixing the problem and not shifting blame for the issue is more important than either saying you're sorry or covering for yourself.

Let the buck stop with you. It'll save time during those endless meetings where everyone's looking for a scapegoat, and it'll move problems toward a solution more quickly.

2. Listen more than you speak.

When you're the boss, people have to pretend to listen to you. The key there is "pretend."

If you actually want people to open their earballs and listen to what you have to say, you have to extend them the same courtesy. You might even learn something.

3. Be genuine.

Why is Office Space still such a cultural touchstone? Because everyone's met a Bill Lumbergh, and no one can stand him. If you can't be forthright with your people, don't engage in doublespeak -- or worse yet, lie.

You can't and shouldn't be best friends with the people you manage, but you don't have to become their nemesis, either. Remember that your goal is to support people so that they can do their best work, as well as to direct that work and mete out discipline when necessary. Tell the truth, or be as quiet as you can.

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