Why is it important to be a leader no matter what your job title or level is?
Many companies see leaders the same as managers. They are not. In my perspective, everyone is a leader and should be valued as a leader in their area of expertise and experience.
Demonstrating leadership builds trust and collaboration. By being a team player and setting a positive example at your workplace or in life in general are two characteristics of a good leader. What other qualities does a leader possess? Leaders reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and focus on driving with their strengths and surrounding themselves with people who can fill the gaps of the weaknesses or learning from them on how to build a skill. Leaders show respect and build trust. They are the people that you want to work with and look forward to productive conversations. Leaders help others grow their potential as well as continuously learn themselves. Leaders inspire.
Thinks about someone you admire and what you admired about them. Those people are leaders. My favorite manager of all time, Tom Wykstra, was an exceptional leader and manager. He took a chance on me by hiring me for a job that I had no experience in. My education and experience is in Organizational Development and he took a chance on me and hired me as a Fraud Investigator. He chose me over 118 other applicants. I eventually asked him why and he said you can teach a skill, but not necessarily how to honestly connect with people. Tom is a true leader. I worked for him a couple of roles and still reach out to him today for advice, 15 years later. Think about this, “Who is your Tom?”
Managers on the other hand can be leaders as I mentioned earlier, but have you ever had a manager that just didn’t “get” you or others on the team? Maybe they wanted to do everything their way and not look for new ideas or opinions? They could be that manager that makes you dread going to work because you feel like you are only a thankless task master. That person is not a leader. I’m sure most people have experienced the manager who is not a leader sometime in their career. I’ve seen it personally more times than I can count.
So what do you do? Those managers that are not also leaders can be coached to develop their leadership skills, but honestly not everyone is cut out to manage people and that is OK. Some managers are open to honest feedback and building their skills and communication style. Those managers are leaders in the making. They need to want to lead.
So what does all of this mean to you? Think about who you are today. Know your strengths, talents, skills and communication style. Understand that everyone is unique. Take some time to reflect and journal the positive things that you do and reflect and journal honestly what one or two things you’d like to work on. After that, find a mentor to help you learn and grow as well as be accountable.
Want to hone in on your leadership skills or expand your journey? Join us for Modern Leadership Fundamentals in Redmond on August 23rd. Details can be found at www.kimweed.com. It is a great opportunity to get to know others, yourself and learn!