Some are born with it. Others learn it. Today we are talking about leadership and the top two ways you can excel as a leader in the workplace plus what it means to be an influencer in your industry. Every time you influence someone you are leading them whether it’s for good or bad. With that in mind, it’s worthwhile to be aware of how your role as a leader both hampers and empowers those around you. Consider how you may be viewed by others: as someone who is the cog blocking growth and hindering progress through poor leadership or as someone who listens, leads, supports, and encourages your team to strive towards their potential which accelerates business growth across many levels. Hopefully the latter example is more your style but if not, you can make a few modifications, and be an in-demand leader many will enjoy working alongside.
Number 1: Leading Through Listening
It’s exasperating to be in a work environment with one-way communication. A boss who won’t listen or is a control freak will always struggle to lead their team through projects. The best leaders have learned that listening and seeking input from those involved across all aspects of a project allows for troubleshooting challenges before they take place. We learn from each other when we listen to each other. Listening doesn’t mean that the leadership can’t respectfully disagree or determine to go in a different direction. It’s vital to have enough information from all of the participants to make an informed decision. You can’t be informed if your listening skills are lacking.
The 7 things people feel when they aren’t being listened to include:
- It’s a waste of time talking to management or to leadership
- Their opinions are not respected or appreciated
- They have nothing to contribute
To be an effective listener you need to be aware. You need to have emotional intelligence. You need to have people skills and be able to work with people – to have soft skills. As a leader, you never want anyone you have contact with to experience any of these seven feelings because you failed to listen.
Number 2: Learning to Excel
A big part of leadership evolves around being a life-long learner and reader. The best leaders continue to read books about leadership, attend webinars and conferences on this topic, and teach others how to hone their own leadership skills. These types of individuals empower others to bring out their fullest potential. When this happens, the company thrives.
People like to follow leaders who continue to learn and continue to embrace change. If you stop learning today, you stop leading tomorrow.
For anyone wanting to refine their leadership skills knowing that the learning is continual is encouraging and inspiring. For a boss who has made mistakes and did a poor job listening (and leading) change is a choice away. Decide today that things will be different…and make it so.
Influencing Through Leadership
Leaders are influencers. Think about how this takes place during annual evaluations. The leadership examples shared during these sessions directly guides and instructions an employee’s growth in their department…and beyond. The best evaluations are developmental in nature. Such as, “Here’s what you did great. Here’s what I commend you on. And lastly, here are areas that you need to improve and grow towards.” Evaluations that take this tone help to mold and shape people to bring out their best – both personally and professionally.
To learn more about leadership and deep listening join me on The Balanced Living for Busy Professionals podcast where my guest Hans Finzel, author of The Top Ten Ways to Be a Great Leader, and I dive deep into this topic and share additional tips and exercises to help you excel in leadership. If you would like some assistance in planning how to become an effective leader schedule a 1:1 consulting session with me to get started.