1. Communication – The power of words (or lack thereof).
Effective communication and leadership are entwined. Whether you lead others or your own career, communication is more than passing on your message. It also involves powerful listening; providing and responding to feedback; verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Avoid using disqualifying language that discounts what you want to convey.
- Be conscious of your tone. Negativity promotes negativity. Anxiety promotes anxiety. Distrust promotes distrust. Practice positivity in your tone. A positive tone is empowering.
- Be aware of your body language.
2. Perfectionism – The enemy of progress.
Perfectionism delays your output on the premise that your work is never good enough. It is not the same as striving to be better at what you do and how you lead. It is that nagging voice of dissatisfaction that impedes productivity because you focus only on the flaws instead of the accomplishments. If you have employees, they feel their work is never up to par, they become discouraged and lower their expectations at the workplace.
- Get to know the language of that nagging voice in your head. Decide if a part of the messaging has legitimate areas for improvement. Let go of any “never enough” battering.
- If leading others, look for ways to praise the effort and provide effective, substantive feedback for how someone can improve. It is about growth and development.
3. Buying into or imposing stereotypes – Confidence Drain / Energy Leak
It is critical for leaders to refrain from workplace stereotypes that limit inclusivity. Encouraging stereotypes leads to anxiety and frustration in the workplace. When employees feel undervalued and not recognized for their unique qualities, they lose their energy to work and lose confidence in your leadership.
- Check to see if you are making assumptions and judgments about someone based on something you learned, experienced one time, or see reinforced from media messaging.
- Don’t put people in categories, including yourself.
- Look for unique talents, skills and potential.
4. Self-Promotion – Advocate for self (or not).
Self-promotion should not be a double-edged sword. Buying into stereotypes is a number one cause of viewing self-promotion as either forceful and aggressive, or assertive and strong. However, in making the most of and taking charge of your career, self-promotion is inevitable. When done correctly, you are a positive role model that can be seen for your expertise and encourage others to do the same.
- Articulate the value you bring and how it benefits the team and/or the organization and your customers or clients.
- Encourage others to advocate for themselves.
- Advocate for others, even when they are not in the room.
5. Have a Well-Developed Team – Who is on your team?
It is a given that leaders need a reliable team that can handle delegated tasks, provide innovation and gets the work done. When creating your team, focus on the diversity of strengths and talents that can support you and the team and/or organizational goals. If you are striving toward leadership, seek input from trusted advisors to help navigate your career, understand office politics, advocate for you and give you support.
- Set up your own personal board of directors.
- Include diverse perspectives to avoid group-think.
- Be a team player as well as a leader.
6. Practice Self-Care – What is your Oxygen Mask?
The care you extend to your physical, emotional, and mental elements affects your productivity as a leader. Self-care is critical to your leadership role and ensures that your employees follow suit.
- Determine what serves as your oxygen mask, and make time for it. Treat it as non-negotiable.
- Put it in your calendar as an appointment placeholder. If you have to reschedule, reschedule immediately. Don’t delete it.
- If you lead others, promote and graciously allow the same for them.