Are you taken seriously?
One of the biggest challenges young leaders share with me is
the struggle to be taken seriously. Knowing how to establish your credibility
with your team, especially when they are older, has proven to an uphill battle.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- You share ideas, but folks don’t seem to
- You are questioned or challenged on new ideas or
- You are bypassed and folks seek out older staff
members, even if they aren’t their supervisor or actually less knowledgeable.
I know you want to be taken seriously and seen as credible
by your team. And that takes work. You have got to inspire trust, respect, and
confidence in your team. The good news
is that it’s possible.
You can start doing something about it now, today. And every
day. It doesn’t take a grand gesture to make a difference; all it takes is a
series of small actions each day to ensure that you demonstrate clarity,
caring, and consistency in your leadership.
#1 Clarity: Be clear about who you are as a leader.
The number one mistake leaders make from day one is leading without
identifying a clear approach to leadership. Real leaders know who they are as a
leader or at least the type of leader they want to be.
I had to learn to be true myself! And that started with
identifying the type of leader that I wanted to be. Once I was clear on the
impact I wanted to have on others, and began to lead with my own values, my
approach to leadership became both clear and consistent.
One of the most common models of leadership is “Authoritative”,
but authoritative leaders are only effective for so long. Eventually, teams
will yearn for autonomy and trust and begin to reject and defy and
authoritative leadership. I know because I made the same mistake. I was a bossy
leader in the early years, and it worked in the beginning, but over time I
struggled to have people on my team respect me. Of course, I thought it was
them, and over time I began to learn that it was me. And that in fact, I really
wanted to lead differently but I just didn’t know how.
Be clear about how you are as a leader and your own approach to leadership.
The first step to Real Leadership is to be clear about how you are as a leader and your own approach to leadership. Once you know who you are, tell your team, and they will know who you are and what to expect.
CLICK HERE to create your own Leadership Identity.
#2 Caring: Let your team know that you care
This is really about having emotional intelligence (EQ), not
walking around the office hugging everyone. Simply put, it’s about being self-aware and
aware of others. You don’t want to be blindly driven by your own emotions and blindsided
by others emotions, with increased EQ you can take the driver’s seat and manage
your own emotions and better assess others.
Early in my leadership, I was all business, and I really
couldn’t be bothered with figuring out what was going on with everyone else. I
just wanted the job done. This was probably the biggest mistake I made as a
leader. Humans are emotional beings and we take our emotions with us, everywhere
we go. Not only are our emotions with us, but they inform our thoughts, and
thus our behavior.
When you are aware and in-control of your emotions, you can be more effective at decision making, problem solving, and leadership.
When you are aware and in-control of your own emotions, you can be more effective at decision making, problem solving, and leadership. Being more self-aware increases your ability to understand others and be more empathetic. The mistake I made was believing that I was able to separate my feelings from my work. I wasn’t, and those who followed me knew it.
When I was able to understand and control my own feelings,
it became much easier for me to show them in healthy and productive ways, and
to support others in their own emotional self-awareness.
#3 Consistency: Be consistent in your behavior and decision making.
One of the biggest barriers to being taken seriously or seen
as credible is inconsistency. In order to trust and respect, your team must
able to predict your behavior. They need to know what to expect. So it is
imperative that you are consistent in your behavior and decision making. This
means you have to walk the talk, and the talk is the “clarity and caring”.
Your approach to leadership or Leadership Identity serves as
a foundation, and empowers you with a set of values and beliefs to guide your
choices and decision making. It’s a baseline you can use to ensure that your
choices are consistent with what you believe and who you say you are.
For example, if you value inclusion and want to be an
inclusive leader then you have to be inclusive 100% of the time. It doesn’t
mean you can’t make mistakes, but when you do, you have to own your mistakes
and work with your team to find a solution.
And if you say you have an open door policy, then your door
should always be open. Literally and figuratively, it can’t be a symbolic
gesture. Folks have to believe it. It doesn’t mean you can’t set some
parameters for your own availability. It isn’t realistic to have people walking
in anytime, but it’s about your team knowing that they can come to you for
When teams know what to expect from you, they are more likely to trust and respect you.
A leader who is inconsistent or unpredictable creates chaos and uncertainty for teams, making it hard for others to trust them. When teams know what to expect from you, they are more likely to trust and respect you. People have to be able to count on you, and to be able to inspire people to follow you have to be consistent.
When your team is able to trust you, they will follow you.
When they respect you, they will seek you out for support,
knowledge, problem solving.
When are confident in you, they will have your back.
You can start increasing your credibility today by taking
steps to ensure that you are leading with clarity, caring, and consistency.
Take the first steps by crafting your Leadership Identity, becoming more
self-aware, and being consistent. In time, you will start to see a team of
people who take your seriously and are ready to follow.