We see people honored for their leadership ability all the time. Some for their cutting edge ideas, others for their work ethic, their resilience, or their ability to motivate others. Sometimes in the “everydayness” of our individual lives we forget that we can actually enhance our credibility as a leader. At the end of the day, we know that leadership is not the result of one singular thing. It is a culmination of experiences and intentions. If leadership were a building, who you are would be the foundation, relationships would be the supporting beams, and intentions would be the roof. Each of these can be strengthened with attention to the details that define how you “show up” as a leader.
Here are a few tips to help you build a stronger image as a leader:
- Be on time. This will may not naturally warrant you respect, but being late will give you a reputation.
- Under promise and over deliver. People who promise things that they cannot deliver give others reason to doubt their integrity. Far better to deliver more than you said you could and leave others pleasantly surprised.
- Be honest and transparent in your communication. People appreciate this. Communicate with clarity and give people the right information at the right time. In the absence of information, people make up their own stories–and they usually are not good!
- Don’t make excuses. Do your best. Work hard. If you made a mistake, apologize and move on. Don’t let it happen again and most definitely, do not let it define you.
- Know your convictions and stand for them. Sometimes we are to fearful to speak about the things that we care the most about. People will trust you more if they know what you believe about an issue, even if they do not agree.
- Be aware of your every action. When you are a leader, your team is watching your every move. Be aware of the message your attitude conveys. Having a bad day? Be careful when and how you let it show through at work. Our emotions are contagious. They affect the work we produce, our ability to influence others, and can spread to affect the whole team.
- Show empathy to those around you, no matter where they are on the ladder: above, below, or next to you. Offer support, encouragement, and a helping hand whenever and wherever you can. You never know who is having a hard time at home or struggling personally. Care for them at work and remind them they aren’t alone. You never know who needs that extra support. Your team will be all the better for it, and you will be seen as an even stronger leader.
Every step you take gets you closer to your leadership ideal. Being mindful of your steps can get you there faster. Based on your actions today, are you becoming a better leader? What will you do differently tomorrow?