You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. By virtue of your position you have the authority. But really, if people don’t respect you or your opinion you really have no power to influence or inspire them.
Have you noticed certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. They may have no title but people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their ability to inspire and gain respect.
Would you like to know how you rank in this area? 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 alone should increase their level of respect 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 will have to make 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 young, but they are hindering us now. The salesperson who has call reluctance, for example, is exhibiting the adult behavior of “don’t talk to strangers.”
You will need to change your attitude before you change those habits. 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 income, respect and prestige or anything that you define as success. Think of the pleasure of getting those things. 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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