Put work into growing your talents, balancing authority with compassion, and demonstrating that you're worthy of your team's trust if you want to be the greatest leader you can be.
Step 1: Building Leadership Capabilities
Even if you don't know everything, be confident. Maintain proper posture, create eye contact, keep your head up when speaking, speak clearly and loudly, and use appropriate gestures to accentuate crucial points. Have faith in your capacity to move your team from point A to point B and project confidence in yourself. Also, don't be afraid to say when you don't know something.
Imagine looking down and squirming while you say, "I don't know." Imagine standing up straight and looking the person in the eye while stating, "I don't know the solution, but I'll look into it and come back to you.”
You are not a horrible leader if you don't know anything. Ineffective leaders, on the other hand, become self-conscious and refuse to confess when they are mistaken.
Keep in mind that the distinction between confidence and arrogance is thin. Recognize that you don't know everything and refrain from acting superior to others.
Learn everything there is to know about your chosen career. If you're in charge of a sales team or the president of a school club, take advantage of every chance to improve your expertise. Knowing what you're talking about can boost your self-assurance and get you the respect of your colleagues. While knowing everything is If you respond "I don't know" to every question your staff has, they will begin to distrust your competence.
Worse, if you don't have a response and make one up, your team will lose faith in you.
If you're arranging a school fundraiser for a charity, for example, go on the organization's website for tips on how to put the event together.
If you're in charge of an engineering team, study everything you can about the products you're working on, go to professional development events, and remain current on new technologies and software.
Seek a mentor with greater experience. Even if you're in a high-ranking job, there's always an opportunity for improvement. Make contact with a leader you appreciate. You may invite them to a coffee or lunch meeting, or inquire if they'd be interested in serving as a long-term mentor.
Seek role models who have overcome obstacles and achieved comparable goals to yours. Attend public speaking engagements by women in leadership positions if you are a young woman in high school or college, for example.
Acquire dispute resolution skills. Tell team members to calm down if they're having a heated argument. If necessary, have them rest for a while. Determine what is causing the issue and take action to resolve it.
Maintain objectivity while attempting to understand each person's viewpoint. If a win-win situation can be found, try your hardest to reach an agreement.
Maintain your firmness while remaining compassionate. You must set clear standards and boundaries as a leader. If you don't mix authority with compassion, though, your team will turn against you.
Explain why you're enforcing a rule to your team. Rather than yelling, "Don't waste paper," remind your employees, "Please try not to print anything unless it is really necessary." Our supply costs have skyrocketed, putting a dent in our profits.”
Rather than second-guessing yourself, make a firm decision. Don't be a tyrant, but be firm in your decisions. Collect data, listen to a variety of viewpoints, and schedule time for debate. Make a solid choice once the time for discussion has passed.
Assume you and your companions are contemplating what to do that evening. Everyone is dithering and scoffing at each other's suggestions. "Guys, we're doing 'this.'" says someone. That individual ascended to the top, saw the need for direction, and assumed command.
Assign responsibilities and clearly define roles. A leader does not micromanage or try to handle everything for their team. Define your expectations explicitly when assigning duties, and give any training that is required. Setting them up for success will make it simpler to trust team members to complete a task.
"Complete specification profiles for at least five installation jobs by the end of the week," for example, would be a clear expectation. "Do some specification profiles," can be an imprecise expectation.
Demonstrate the work and explain the steps as you complete them when you need to train someone. Observe them as they begin if possible, and gently correct them if they make a mistake.
Part 3: Winning the Support of Your Team
Respect the people on your team. They'll be able to detect whether you're sincerely worried about them if you show genuine sympathy. When they voice their thoughts, listen to them out, compliment them on their efforts, and never use bad language. Remember that you set the tone, so model the conduct you want your colleagues to exhibit.
Remember that just because you respect someone doesn't mean you have to give in to their demands. You're the boss, therefore you know what's best for the group.
If someone disagrees with you, pay attention to what they're saying and utilize what they're saying to help you make a better decision. If you can't utilize their proposal, tell them you appreciate their thoughts but are heading in a different route.
Make good on your commitments. You will lose respect if you break your promises. You may be personable and intelligent, but if you violate your word, you'll have a revolt on your hands.
To maintain commitments, you must first determine what is feasible and what is not. When you make a promise, be sure it's something you can follow through on.
For example, don't offer significant raises to your employees unless you're quite certain there's money in the budget. If you're the president of a school club, don't guarantee that you'll acquire extra money before talking to your principal or school administration.
Inquire of those you lead for feedback. People may be scared by you as a leader, so constructive criticism may not come easily. Ask your team concrete questions about how you can enhance your performance rather than waiting for someone to speak up.
If you want to know if they like you, don't ask them yes or no questions. Instead, ask specific questions like "What can I do to be a better leader in your opinion?" or "How can I communicate more clearly?”
Keep track of your progress. Take responsibility for the repercussions of your decisions. If something goes wrong, you're the one who has to accept responsibility, so don't blame others to make up for your faults.
Consider being the captain of a ship; the ship's fate is in your hands, and it's up to you to keep everyone on board heading in the proper path.
A competent leader perseveres when things don't go according to plan. Treat failures as chances to learn rather than burying your head in the sand.
Dress appropriately for the part you're playing. Knowing the difference between dressing to impress and clothing to influence will help you to feel more confident about yourself. Overdressing or dressing to impress may cause a rift between you and those you lead.
Wearing a suit and tie, for example, is unsuitable at a casual restaurant, as it may turn off customers and alienate employees.
Wearing a pristine button-up or nice dress to a meeting if you're the president of your high school class is preferable to shredded jeans and a dirty, wrinkled tee-shirt.