Leaders, please be yourself, not who you think you need to be.

BEING A LEADER:  True leaders have the ability to set an intention, then motivate, inspire, and empower people to follow. A Gallup poll found that leadership involves many factors, but one of the most critical is giving followers what they need.  The top elements cited?  Trust, compassion, integrity, and stability.

Some of the most effective leaders I have worked for, and with, have a few characteristics in common, but all of them understand the importance of commanding respect while simultaneously remaining true to their personality.

They are not afraid to show a softer side when interacting with their teams. In fact, this is one of the most endearing and important traits that makes people want to follow the leader.

If you are a leader, work for one, or want to be one, think about whether you or the person who is the leader possesses this quality. Perhaps they do, sometimes, but you only get glimpse of it, and not consistently. Now imagine what it would be like to work for this type of leader.  Or to be this type of leader.

Some people take on a different persona at work.

Are you a big bad wolf at the office and a cuddly teddy bear at home?  As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that workin’ for ya?

The other thing people do is to develop their leadership qualities based on being collaborative, and approachable. They allow their naturally ability of high emotional intelligence to flourish.

Unfortunately, emotional intelligence is not something that can be taught, but it can be mimicked.  If you feel you are lacking, pay attention in scenarios to which you are exposed on a regular basis.

For example, watch as successful leaders properly greet a guest and make them feel comfortable, or ask someone you notice who seems sad, or upset, if they need to take a moment, or want to talk.

Leaders who are open to the human experience, are in no way weak.

Sometimes we conveniently forget that our leaders are human, too, and typically under constant pressure. Having to mask their emotions is difficult, but doing so is not a sign of weakness.

When our business leaders reveal that they are experiencing emotions, it sends signals to the people who work for them that they are simply human.  This makes them more approachable.

Contrary to what you might think, when a leader exhibits emotion, many people either do not notice, or do not comment, if they do.  Some may simply be oblivious, while most are probably reluctant to approach the boss.

It’s okay to ask how they are doing, and do so sincerely.

You might be surprised by the reaction you get.  Be prepared to respond in a kind and empathetic manner. This sentiment will be appreciated more than you can imagine. What’s more, the leader will perceive you in an entirely different light the next time you interact. Why?  Because you allowed them to be themselves for that moment. This is not something many leaders feel like they can or should do.

Climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder can take years, but some people reach the top faster than others. How? There are a number of factors, but one of them is that they are likeable, and part of being likeable is being human. These people are also typically bright, and able to access both the right and left sides of their brains equally. They have a personality that makes others believe in and want to follow them.

Of course, this is an over simplification of the other criteria one needs to climb the rungs. Typically, it is much harder for those who reached the top because of an inside connection to earn the respect of their team. Authentic leaders who have earned the right to be placed into leadership roles are the ones whom we admire, potentially aspire to be like, and ultimately respect and want to follow.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

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