Written by Donna Cameron
Do you remember being young and looking up to people who inspired you? They could have been actors, authors, or business people. It really didn’t matter who they were but they were doing something that you admired, something that caught your attention and something that you wanted to do when you grew up. These people were leaders. They achieved their goals and you commended them for it.
Watching these leaders gave you direction for your future, and showed you how you wanted to present yourself. Autobiographies allowed you to see into their world and learn the path to their success which one day you hoped would be your own. Their long hours of study, their work commitments, all their setbacks and achievements, were documented for you to study.
You could see the tall poppy syndrome in other people attempting to pull them down, and showing their jealousy – but you also could see that these leaders were able to soar above the negativity and stay on top.
Fast forward to your adult life. You have put in the hard work and now you are a leader in your field - achieving and succeeding. This has not happened by accident. It has taken skill and dedication. With this role comes responsibilities and you will now have other people looking up to you, most with admiration. There are, however, those few who will try to discredit you and pull you down for their own benefits.
It can be very difficult knowing how to manage your own emotions and continue in this leadership role with difficult personality types around you. Instead of being described as assertive, a leader can be called aggressive. Instead of a leader setting goals, they can be seen as a dictator. Instead of pushing others around them to be their best selves, they can be seen as interfering.
In the world today, it is important that we understand the role of the leader. We need our leaders to charge forward with productivity and change. In your leadership role, there are some important attributes that you need to display to others.
Being assertive does not mean being aggressive towards others, nor is it being passive around them. Assertive communication requires you to listen to your needs and the needs of others. In your leadership role, it is all about you making the best decision once all communication has occurred. Sometimes you will have to go against what others are suggesting or wanting, which can be difficult. Stand your ground in these decision-making times. Be respectful but also assertive when required.
Leadership requires planning and organisational skills. As a leader you will always have the big picture or that final goal in your mind. You know what needs to occur to reach that final destination. In the early stages, others around you may be focusing on the smaller tasks and may not see the bigger picture. Difficulties can arise for the leader when others feel they are not being told about the end goals. They may feel they are being dictated to or bossed around. It is important for you, as the leader, to keep directions and instructions clear during these busy times. Don’t make any assumptions that others see or think the way you do.
Encouragement and recognition
A good leader has the ability to encourage others around them. Even through the busiest times a leader can identify the work that others are doing and give praise. Praising others helps to develop a social relationship with them. It also helps to build respect and trust in a relationship - important attributes when working together.
A leader needs to validate others around them. Validation means identifying any issues that are occurring for others and validating that they have the right to feel and think the way they do. Once validation has occurred, problem solving can begin. The problem can be solved in a positive way where everybody feels heard and understood. Without validation in the workplace, workers will feel they are not important. This will then impact the effort they put into their individual role.
It is often necessary for leaders to disagree with others around them. Sometimes a leader will have to say no and sometimes they will have to reprimand others for poor behaviour. A leader needs to be able to separate themselves from these situations and not make or take this personally. If a leader can do this task well, they can help the other person grow and develop more positive skills for their own future. You, as a leader, have worked hard to achieve this role. Celebrate your achievements and continue your journey of success. Be that role model for others to look up to, and then you can help them achieve their goals. Leadership is all about being your best self and supporting others to do the same. Always remember the tips above and continue your path of success.
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