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How To Demonstrate Successful Leadership In The Workplace

As with all skills, some of us are more adept at leadership than others. However, if you find yourself lacking in this area, keep in mind that your current struggles may be taking you down the pathway to eventual success. After all, you can leverage the key fundamentals of successful leadership in order to impact your team and become the leader you desire to be.

Understanding Effective Communication Successful leaders are effective communicators. In fact, communication will most likely be the major building block of your success in leadership. What makes a communicator effective, exactly? Through my experiences as a business and leadership coach, I have found the following guidelines to be helpful:

• Always consider all angles before crafting your message. Think about the "who," "what" and "how" of the situation. Keep the following questions in mind: What is the issue at hand? How can it be solved? Who am I asking to take action? What are the possible obstacles? What tools will I need to provide to make the process easier? • Make sure your message is understood. Anyone can deliver a message, but not everyone confirms that the message is understood. Don’t hesitate to repeat yourself to make a point. Always ask your team members if they have any questions or comments. Wait five-to-10 seconds before moving on in order to give your team time to process the information and formulate responses.

• Manage and prevent conflicts with consideration and purpose. Handle conflict between employees immediately. Otherwise, you risk the creation of a toxic environment where employees fail to see you as a capable leader. Stay a step ahead and strive to prevent conflict by observing your employees and learning their emotional triggers. For example, consider your employees’ working styles: some are very methodical, plugging along to the end. Others procrastinate and then rush to accomplish everything at the last minute. A way to avoid conflict is to pair employees with similar working styles. • Give specific and appropriate praise for individual and team efforts. When you specifically state what you appreciate, your praise should translate as being authentic, not as an empty gesture. For example, “The candid testimonials you gathered gave us valuable insight on the product that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.” This conveys exactly what impressed you, and offers the bonus of reinforcing desired behavior.

Engaging Others To be a successful leader, you must be able to engage others. Engaging a team takes some extra time and forethought, but the payoff can net huge gains in productivity and trust.

• Consider each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and interests. Assign tasks based on your observations or on feedback from individuals. When team members are skilled and interested in what they are doing, their productivity will soar.

• Keep your team apprised of any important changes or plans that are on the horizon. The additional time that you invest will be well worth it. A group email can easily keep everyone in the loop. This strategy will help team members feel trusted and will foster their loyalty toward you.

• Encourage feedback regarding team assignments, project agendas or workplace policies. Have a policy that allows employees to comfortably approach you as needed. For example, tell them that if your office door is open, you are available to talk. This will make employees feel that you care about their concerns.

Being Resourceful Drawing upon certain resources can help you stay on track if you encounter obstacles when trying to achieve your leadership goals. Both of the following resources can help you overcome the problems you encounter on your way to becoming a successful leader:

• Executive training focused on leadership development. Trainings based solely on lectures, reading handouts and watching presentations or demonstrations do little to promote retention. Instead, look for trainings that incorporate discussion groups, allow for small-group practice of concepts taught, and encourage teaching others what you’ve learned. The active learning process is invaluable when retaining information.

• Find a mentor. Keep in mind that a mentor doesn’t have to work in the same industry as you. It’s more important that this person is someone who has the same leadership philosophy as you. You’re not looking for someone to push you to reinvent yourself; you’re looking for support and guidance regarding your leadership goals and management style. Seek out someone you feel comfortable spending time with, who has experience and wisdom to offer, and who will be honest with you. Demonstrating successful leadership is rarely second nature and is often filled with trial and error. But you should't be afraid to fail in your quest to becoming a leader. Failures bring you closer to becoming the leader you want to be, because they allow you to discover the areas in which you need to improve. Once you feel you’ve reached a measure of success, don’t stop improving. Continuing to hone your leadership skills throughout your career will allow you to excel as a professional, enjoy your work more thoroughly, and be respected by others.



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