How to Become a Leader at Work
Successful workplace leadership comes from strong and steady transformation of the group as a whole. View your job not as one cog in the wheel, but as part of a holistic department or company. This shift in perception might help you battle the single biggest thing standing between you and becoming a good leader: fear.
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Proactive, Not Reactive
Lisa A. Miles at PsychCentral reminds us that in business, managers and leaders often make changes out of fear of liability. This is a reaction to potential problems, scrambling to fit into guidelines or respond to unforeseen problems instead of thinking ahead.
When we think ahead from a position of strength, not fear, we may look at the operation as a whole and recognize its strengths and weaknesses. If you are not yet in a leadership position, don’t be afraid to suggest change based upon proactive ideas. Those who chant the mantra “but we’ve always done it this way” are likely to scramble in confusion and fear when problems arise.
Look to Strengths
Slow and steady wins the race both in children’s fables and often in effecting positive change and becoming a good leader. Look to your own strengths in your job, as well as the strengths in your department or company. Good leadership involves recognizing and capitalizing on those strengths.
When we focus on weaknesses in a business environment, we are likely to make quick changes that have a negative backlash. Miles refers to this as a “whiplash” effect.
Start with yourself. Focus on how to best use your strengths, and set goals for yourself that make sense. Good leaders do everything they can to capitalize on existing strengths, even small ones. Don’t be afraid to try doing things differently, but if you are not yet in a leadership position, discuss your ideas with your manager and explain why you think they are improvements. Remain enthusiastic and keep you eye on the big picture. Developing these skills will help you become a good leader, either in your current company or perhaps in another.
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