Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?” If the answer to that question is no, then you may not have the power to lead.
You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. As the owner or manager you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. Have you noticed there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. They may have no title at all and people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills.
How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That should develop some respect in itself and helps you connect because you are showing you value their feedback. The first time you do this they may be reluctant. It might mean you have some work to do to get them to feel comfortable giving you the total “honest” truth.
Acting on their suggestions may not be easy. While you can change and improve your traits, it will take real commitment, discipline and desire to change your old habits. If you expect to get the team to see you as trusted leader you are going to have to succeed in making changes yourself. You will need to change your behavior and habits if you expect others to do so. A leader leads from the front.
Our habits are a function of our attitudes which are patterns of thought developed from our conditioning. Unfortunately, most of our conditioning occurred to protect us when we were very young. Statements such as “Children should be seen and not heard, don’t talk to strangers, don’t go where you’re not invited” were designed to help us when we were very young but they are actually hindering us now. The salesperson who has call reluctance, for example, is exhibiting the adult behavior of “don’t talk to strangers.”
In order to change those habits you will need to change your attitudes. Here are 3 steps:
1. Recognize that your attitudes are Habits of Thought. And the attitudes that you currently hold give you some level of satisfaction.
2. Determine the satisfaction you derive from that attitude or habit.
3. Replace your old attitude with a new one.
You need to understand that you are getting some satisfaction from your old habit; maybe it is just complacency and comfort. Substitute the new satisfaction you will get from the new habit; such as more income; a new car, respect and prestige or anything that you define as success. Think of the pleasure of getting those things. In reality, you must have a new satisfaction which will take you out of your old comfort zone to a new zone of satisfaction.
Understanding motivation and having empathy for others in helping them is just one component for getting performance from teams of employees, associates, or volunteers. Master this and you can work on the others.
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