How to be a leader at work
You may think of the “leaders” in your organization as the ones at the top of the org chart, but true leadership isn’t dependent on a title or a reporting structure. It’s in how you treat and inspire the people around you.
Whether you’re a veteran CEO or just have a few years of professional experience, here are five leadership tips that you can start using today at work regardless of your current role or title. Consider these your secret weapons – use them well and they will allow you to get more of your goals accomplished and create a working environment that your whole team can enjoy.
Get to know your coworkers.
Research has shown that top performing teams have one thing in common – psychological safety. And to achieve that, you need vulnerability.
There are few things more vulnerable at work than sharing personal stories with the people you work with. Just get to know them, and give them a chance to know you! When your co-workers stop seeing each other as mere colleagues, and as complex human beings instead, it works wonders to bring a team together. People take more risks, help each other, and are more likely to view your ideas and motives in a positive light.
Hand out win-wins.
Every single person you work with has goals to meet. And, because there are a finite number of resources in any organization, compromise becomes inevitable if you’re going to get anything done! Anytime you can find a way to help someone towards their goal, even if it means giving a little bit on your own, that’s a win-win.
Win-wins are the social currency of any organization. That means the more you can hand out, the better! Think of the alternative – you either give people a win or you give them a loss. If your co-workers know you’re someone that hands out wins, they’ll be much more likely to work with you than if you’re known for handing out losses.
Be bold and inspirational.
When asked if their organization values boldness, only 13% of respondents say it does not. So what holds people back? The answer is easy: Fear! Fear that people “don’t like change” and fear that being bold makes people uncomfortable.
Think about that for a moment. It’s not for a lack of ideas. It’s not for a lack of resources. And it’s not because boldness won’t lead to achieving a desired end result. People hold back because they are afraid of the reactions of others. However, those are things that can be managed.
Don’t be afraid to articulate a bold vision and go for it. Yes, you may get some resistance as first, but if you manage through it, you’ll come out well ahead on the other side.
Give people a common goal.
You know what types of teams don’t have as many interpersonal challenges? Ones that literally work in life and death scenarios, like the military or doctors and nurses working in an emergency room. They have an overt common goal, they have urgency surrounding it, and none of the personal nonsense gets in the way of doing what they can to achieve.
When you’re leading a cross-functional team – one made up of folks who may or may not report to you – you obviously can’t manufacture life and death scenarios. However, you can create urgency around a common purpose, empower the members of your team to do what they can to achieve it, and build in mechanisms that show them their progress. The more progress they see, the more inspired they’ll be to keep going.
Be of service, always.
One of my favorite quotes is “If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.”
Great leaders don’t expect others to be of service to them. They look for ways to be of service to others. That means they lift them up and help them achieve their goals. They don’t bark orders – they bring the team together and make everyone feel like a trusted and valued member. They go out of their way to take care of the people around them. No matter their rank, they humble themselves to the greater good.
When you do those things, it will always come back to you in spades.
Want more tips for how to be a leader at work?
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