How to be a Good Leader at Work
There are many thoughts and approaches around the question of "how do I become a good leader?" Becoming a good leader is certainly subjective to one’s definition of good. However a common misconception is that someone can become a good leader at work without first becoming a good leader.
The first person we lead is ourselves.
That means before I can become a good leader at work, I must lead myself well both personally and professionally. Likewise, if I am a poor leader in my personal life yet strive to be a good leader in my professional life, I simply am manipulating and thus being a hypocrite.
As we consider how to be a good leader at work let us first take a moment to consider how to be a good leader to ourselves.
All of us have people within our circle of influence. We influence someone every day. It may be our spouse, our children, our significant other or other family members. It maybe someone we pass on the street or see in the coffee shop. Regardless we have an opportunity to influence others everyday. The question then becomes not if we influence others but how we are influencing those around us.
This comes back to us simply leading ourselves well. When we choose to behave in a way that offers encouragement and support to those around us we are demonstrating true leadership. One of the most important competencies of leading is authentic care and concern for others.
The leader who does not care about those within her circle of influence is the leader that is seen as being disingenuous, fake and untrustworthy.
Therefore, the first step to being a good leader at work is to be a good leader personally. This means developing a discipline that allows us to authentically invest in others regardless of how we feel, because it's the right thing to do.
Once we begin the process of leading ourselves well on a personal level we can turn our attention to those within our circle of influence at work.
Don’t make the assumption that you only lead those who are below you on the organizational chart. Some of the strongest leaders I’ve ever met are those who are on the very bottom of the organizational chart. We lead from a 360 perspective. That means sometimes we lead our supervisor, we lead our peers, and sometimes we lead those who report to us.
It is important to demonstrate authenticity, transparency and vulnerability when leading others at work. The most effective way to lead a team is to listen, learn, and lead by asking the right questions.
In order to become a leader you must be willing to take the time to invest in each team member. That means developing a relationship that contains real concern for your team members. This is not a substitute for hard work and competency but it is an important step in your leadership development.
Becoming a leader is not about accomplishing the task of climbing up the organizational ladder. It is about authentically investing in others and leading by example. Choose to lead yourself well, first, and then those within your circle of influence both personally and professionally, and you will make a difference!
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