Career Tips

May 2016

Be a Better Leader

The best leaders are respected, not feared. So what are you doing to earn other people’s respect? How are you helping the team and supporting others around you?

Leadership: The Best Leaders Are Respected, Not Feared

By Dawn Rasmussen

As many of us try to make an upward scramble into leadership positions and higher pay, sometimes we overlook one thing: maybe we aren’t a good leader. Or maybe we lack some necessary qualifications to be a leader.

The end result?

Well, you’ve likely seen a real-life example in the workplace: BossZilla.

People who end up in senior management positions and then dominate the workplace with fear and intimidation have a dirty little secret that they are hiding:

They aren’t qualified to do the job.

And they aim to scare anyone who might question this by intimidating them into never saying a thing.

But are they really a good leader?

Most likely not.

The best leaders are the ones who break down walls between themselves and the rest of the staff, rather than building them.

People who have a high leadership IQ are more prone to being in touch with every level of the organization, lending a truly listening ear, and intent on building rapport, not fear.

The best leaders are respected, not feared.

So, if you want to rise into a leadership position, what are you doing to earn other people’s respect?

How are you helping the team and supporting others around you?

Here are some tips, whether you are currently in a leadership position or are hoping to be:

  1. Empower everyone around you.  Share knowledge, ideas, and energy. By sharing freely, you are leveling the playing field and not creating a sharp chasm between yourself and “the others.”
  2. Be positive. Make an effort to reach out to everyone and get to know them.  Say thank you, acknowledge something they did that helped you, and offer to help them in return.
  3. Ask for help when you need it. Sometimes, bad leaders get into tough situations where they need help but their egos are too big to ask for assistance. They feel that by doing so decreases their leadership profile. Smart leaders know to surround themselves with equally intelligent, thoughtful people and rely on them for their counsel.
  4. Be willing to admit and “own” a mistake. Pushing off blame to others does nothing to help your career. It may temporarily relieve you of some stress, but it will come back to haunt you after throwing someone under the proverbial bus. Ownership of mistakes is an important and admirable attribute of truly great leaders because they are unafraid to use their failure and how they handled it as an example to teach others.
  5. Be willing to take calculated risks. If everyone in the organization toed the line, growth wouldn’t happen. You don’t necessarily have to be a daredevil, but speak up if you see an opportunity that represents growth. Anything carries a certain degree of risk, but if you make a reasonable business case for taking that gamble, it shows a sense of fearlessness and a desire to make the organization better.

Leadership does not come easily to some people. It takes time, patience, lots of failures, humility, and determination.

If you are hoping to move forward into a leadership position, identify someone that you admire in terms of their leadership style and see what they do and how they do it.

Don’t be afraid to invest into some leadership training classes, too. Getting a baseline understanding of leadership principles can help give you a good basis for making future decisions and handling unanticipated situations.

Do your best, respect others, and the rest should follow.

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