Friday, October 01, 2010
How to Become a Contagious Leader
By Caroline Fox
60 Ways to Become a Contagious Leader
When we first saw this post, we knew we had to blog about it. The simple words “contagious leader” could inspire even the most lackluster employee to sit up a little straighter. This article mentions 60 different ways to improve your leadership performance, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top picks and elaborated on them.
Call employees "those that work with you".
A leader that identifies well with his/her followers will be given much more respect. Creating a sense of camaraderie will allow for more open channels of communication, less internal angst, and a better look at the organization as a whole. These will, in turn, lead to better productivity, less disjointedness, and an overall better sense of community in the workplace.
Allow for the opinions and ideas of others in all matters.
Remember, you are not the only person capable of thinking in your organization (even though it may seem like it sometimes). Everyone has differing thinking styles and can produce different ideas. Maybe the newest hire can produce a groundbreaking idea that will revolutionize productivity. Maybe your oldest employee has an insight from their experience that others don’t. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s ideas or theories, at least listen to them. We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Find the leaders on the team you lead that have no leadership title. Cultivate the natural gifts, skills, and abilities of those individuals.
Ok, so we combined numbers 15 and 16 for this one, but they fit together too well not to include them both. It is important to remember that not all leaders are managers, and not all managers are leaders. By identifying those employees who are “undercover leaders,” you will encourage continuation of their positive behavior, therefore cultivating the organization’s next manager/boss/CEO.
Communicate assertively, but not in an overpowering fashion when issues are heated.
Assertive communication is imperative to get things done. Wishy-washy requests and timid proclamations won’t be noticed or acknowledged by employees. They may be heeded for a little while, but over time people will learn that there are no consequences for going against an order. Assert your authority by clearly and confidently saying what you need and when, and keep eye contact. If an employee or co-worker balks or begins to fume at such a request, calmly explain why this is needed, and keep your cool in case of a sudden outburst. Remember, you’re working hard to do your job; they need to be doing theirs.
Be entertaining, humorous, or at the very least, fun to be around.
Remember how in elementary school there would always be students running around out of line? That’s because following while staring at the back of someone’s head isn’t always a fun thing to do. Make sure you’re not just “the back of someone’s head” (figuratively). Make yourself interesting and people will take interest in your thoughts and opinions. Talk about your favorite restaurant, ask a coworker about their new puppy, or put up pictures of yourself bungee jumping in Australia. These conversation pieces will make you seem more like a real person and less like a “back-of-the-head.”
Micromanage only those who need it and only until they prove that they do not.
Micromanaging is frustrating for both the superior and the employee. The superior is busier than they need to be, and the employee feels that their superior has no trust in them or in their skills. If you are a micromanager, (guilty as charged) take a step back. Let your employees do their best, and you will be surprised at the amount of work they get done. This seemingly small act will build a sense of trust, which leads to more dedicated and confident employees.
On the chance that there is an employee who needs micromanaging: help them grow. Give them tips on how to perform more productively, and be ready to step back once they have proven themselves. Your instruction may be the only mentoring they have ever had, and you could be surprised how fast they learn.
Becoming a contagious leader isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication, and constant feedback from those around you. We believe in your ability to become a contagious, even viral leader, and hope that these tips can be of use on your road to personal development.
Posted by Heather Caliendo at 9:41 AM