14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

New leaders get into leadership positions by demonstrating greater skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence, better expertise than the teams they were in.

However, for new leaders, mistakes are common and quasi inevitable.

Mistakes show you what you are made of, what you need to succeed, what you need to redirect your career, what you are missing to improve your character.

Wondering what are the common mistakes to avoid as a new leader?

Mistakes don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when they come to light rather than going unnoticed.

When mistakes are made, it makes sense for us to focus on what we have done right, on our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

#1. New leaders ego-trip

Some new leaders want to bring attention to themselves, to demonstrate their self-importance and their superiority.

They usually overstep their boundaries, put down their “subordinates” and come off as arrogant. It is safe to say that:

  • They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Their ego is fragile. They surround themselves with yes men and people who strike their ego.
  • They are entitled to their position and don’t understand that the position requires work and humility.

#2. New leaders power-trip

Leaders who power-trip lack humility and self-discipline.

They use their new position to impose their authority, to remind their “subordinates” that they have power over them and to exact revenge on coworkers that they didn’t like.

Needless to say, power tripping can damage trust and workplace morale.

#3. New leaders don’t deal with their imposter syndrome

New leaders let their imposter syndrome sabotage their efforts.

Leaders with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they are due to their position, don’t believe that they have succeeded thanks to their gifts.

Some of them are insecure, tend to feel like frauds and are afraid of being unmasked.

Some are overzealous. They want to do things their way, be the catalysts of change, challenge the status quo almost immediately.

Some overwork, they show off their skills and try to prove themselves.

Others expect perfection and not excellence.

#4. New leaders don’t know who they are

New leaders are generally unaware of who they are, how they are seen, how they should contribute and of what they now represent.

That is because new leaders:

#5. New leaders don’t update their mindset

Becoming a leader is a long and never-ending process.

However, new leaders have to quickly update their mindset to keep up with their teams.

They have to change their focus from frontliner to strategist, to doing from ordering, to performing a task to planning meetings.

Firstly, they must make a pact with themselves to grow and to improve.

Secondly, they must constantly monitor their words, attitudes and actions.

#6. New leaders don’t understand the requirements of their position

Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. New to their roles, most leaders:

  • Don’t grasp that being a boss, being a manager and being a leader are different.
  • Think “position” automatically implies “authority”.
  • Don’t understand their job description.
  • Don’t fully understand or commit to their role.
  • Fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Get overwhelmed by their positions.
Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. New leaders stop learning

Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

New leaders face new responsibilities that they don’t have the skills for and :

  • Are too afraid to ask questions and to ask for help.
  • Take too long before initiating leadership training.
  • Have to learn new skills quickly, autonomously, and most importantly apply them.

#8. New leaders stick to traditional leadership styles

Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.

People are more comfortable and are able to perform at their best with a democratic leadership style.

Today, millennials expect validation, recognition, rewards, a more deconstructed workplace that is fun, relaxed, motivational yet productive and structured.

They want to understand their role, the impact of their contributions at work, to be involved in the decision-making process, to learn continually and to own their work.

#9. New leaders don’t cater to their past and present relationships

Some leaders stop valuing people, start ignoring their teams and their past relationships. Instead, they tend to:

  • Disconnect from their teams. For instance, they don’t listen to their team and don’t measure their words.
  • Avoid conversations, small talk and nurturing new relationships.
  • Avoid collaboration and do everything themselves.
  • Focus on the results.

Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive.

Dismissing relationships can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your intentions, speech or behavior.

#10. New leaders run away from conflicts

New leaders aim to please at first. They sugarcoat, don’t address awkward dynamics, avoid conflicts, run away from difficult conversations, want to be liked and not respected.

They don’t speak up when they have to. For example, they don’t communicate expectations don’t correct employee mistakes when they have to, are no longer transparent because they are afraid of judgement and of losing their position.

In addition, they comply too often because they are not confident about their abilities.

Even if it is sometimes wise to avoid conflict, this strategy is not sustainable.

#11. New leaders shut down dissenting voices

New leaders must get comfortable with people who cause dissent even though the latter are natural catalysts, and easily take risks.

Dissenting voices within the organization usually have a bad reputation.

They are not welcomed in groups, go against the grain, are seen as not playing by the rules, are stifled, are the ones that end up being fired.

#12. New leaders don’t delegate

At entry level, we want to control people, do everything ourselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

Some leaders don’t know how to delegate, don’t want to delegate or just find it plain hard to do so. Indeed, it is a hard task because it requires that they:

  • Give instructions to their employees.
  • Have faith in the workers, be comfortable depending on others and believe that the work will be up to standards.
  • Have confidence in their personal abilities and do not be afraid of being upstaged.
  • Do not feel guilty that they are giving too much work to their employees because they were once in their place.

#13. New Leaders fail to navigate office politics

They don’t fully understand the politics at work and don’t take time to grasp it.

It is important that they:

  • Address internal conflicts and discontinue previous leadership issues.
  • Stay aware of the new power struggles. Indeed, they will be compared to previous leaders and compare themselves to previous leaders, have to deal with jealousy and insubordination at first, have to face judgement and backlash from their coworkers.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the previous leader, gossiping about their coworkers with the coworkers.
  • Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.

#14. New leaders don’t take accountability for their actions

They don’t take accountability for their own actions.

Instead, they tend to shift blame, find a scapegoat, are afraid of the words “I don’t know”.

Furthermore, they take credit and don’t shine light on their high performing employees.

Last Words Of Advice!

Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and for:

  • Humbling us and discovering our authentic selves.
  • Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
  • Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
  • Removing us from our comfort zones.
  • Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
  • Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves, how to explore and experiment in life, how to learn and change.
  • Making us more resourceful, more resilient, more self-disciplined and building our problem solving skills.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

In Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek believes that every single employee is capable of becoming a leader, of being remarkable, of exercising courage and sacrifice, of investing into the company, and of finding fulfillment at work.

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek

The General Role Of The Leader

In addition, Simon Sinek considers humans as hunters, organizations as tribes and leaders as those who put order within the tribe.

In modern days, leaders are perceived as dominant, are the ones that eat first, are the ones who make the most money, who get preferential treatment and most importantly are those who are supposed to protect. Indeed, they have more resources at their disposal and have to use it appropriately to ensure the survival of their tribe.

However, for long-lasting results, to gain the loyalty and respect of their employees, they must not consider their well-being above the well-being of the tribe. They must eat last.

It is the role of leaders of an organization to be courageous, to demonstrate empathy, to lay down the foundation for success, to show employees appreciation and to allow them to take appropriate risks.

The Circle Of Safety

The Circle Of Safety contains all the people of an organization. It is a safe space where employees feel fulfilled at work, don’t dread Monday morning, are willing to advance the company’s purpose.

It is an environment of increased commitment, fulfillment, gratitude and happiness, where employees are more relaxed, thrive, collaborate and work for each other.

In the Circle Of Safety, leaders and employees share the same values, pull their respective loads and are committed to the Circle.

Everyone feels valued by their peers, they know that their colleagues have their backs, they believe that they belong to something greater than themselves, that they can safely drive innovation, share ideas and express themselves freely.

By the same token, employees and leaders must independently weigh their decisions and ponder whether or not their decisions are beneficial to the group. It is wise to remember that working toward individualistic goals will hurt the group.

Leaders In The Circle Of Safety

Besides, leaders are the gatekeepers of the Circle. They set the standards, they decide who gets in and who stays at the door.

To create safety, leaders have to meet certain conditions and build a soothing company culture. Company culture in modern days is unnatural because they go against all natural needs, instincts, rights for safety and fulfillment.

If leaders want to create a Circle Of Safety, to establish an innovative, stable, robust, lasting, successful company, they must:

  • Understand that employees are not a means to an end and shouldn’t be exploited.
  • Increase employee cohesion and inclusion. They must no longer fear each other but must be willing to fight external challenges together. Moreover, there is power in numbers: when challenges arise, employees in the Circle Of Safety must put all their differences aside to reach a common goal.
  • Avoid placing money above people but place people above everything else.
  • Remember that they are the models for the organization. Therefore, they must define a clear set of values and beliefs for themselves and for their employees.
  • Inject empathy into the workplace culture and treat everyone fairly. This will make both employees and leaders more human, and make work more enjoyable.
  • Extend trust to earn trust. Trust also lies in the fact that leaders know when to follow the rules and when to break them in order to guarantee the safety of their employees.
  • Help people solve problems. They will in turn, help each other.
  • Listen to their employees.
  • Protect their employees internal conflicts and promote collaboration.

 

The Feasibility Of The Circle Of Safety

Making people feel safe, putting their well-being first is idealistic but impractical.

On one hand, people work out of necessity, are willing to stay in a job that they hate to provide for themselves and for their loved ones. They don’t want to selflessly commit to and invest themselves into the company. They are reluctant to put forth the time and effort because they are not in control and  might not receive the proper rewards.

On the other hand, it is quasi difficult to find organizations that genuinely care for their employees safety and well-being. Most of them tend to care more about reaching numbers and are willing to sacrifice people to get there.

The truth is most companies and leaders display poor character and induce a stressful and fearful culture. Employee disengagement, high employee turnover and health problems ensue.

Abundance and Abstraction

Finally, when leaders have everything in abundance, which is often the case today, they lose the real value of things.

As a consequence, the more their companies grow, the more they are out of touch with their employees and their consumers, the less they empathize with them. To solve this abstraction, leaders should:

  • Get to know their employees personally. Investing time and energy in them will transpire as appreciation.
  • Continually spread ideas, find people, connect with them, build real human relationships and bring them together.
  • Expand their company to 150 employees at most in order to remember everyone and to keep strong relationships.
  • Observe the real impact and results of their time and effort, alongside their employees’. This will consequently increase everybody’s quality of work.
  • Give people the time needed to trust, to find their way and place with the Circle Of Safety.

The Influence Of The Company Culture

The culture severely impacts the survival of the company. When there are no values, no principles, no particular beliefs, when the culture is based on numbers, reports and performance, the company is doomed to fail.

Moreover, leaders with poor character fabricate a bad culture that in turn breeds bad leaders. This is why, leaders are required to:

  • Rely on integrity and trust, spend time with the people they serve and shift their focus to the latter.
  • Find someone to lean on and to help them through hardships.
  • Discover their life purpose.
  • Work hard for what they have in order to value it.
  • Hold on to their responsibilities.

Review

Simon Sinek, in Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, provides an innovative leadership strategy to build a successful organization, to increase employee engagement and fulfillment.

After Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Leaders Eat Last is intended for millennials and promotes leadership excellence. To develop a successful organization, Simon Sinek encourages us to discover the reasons why we do what we do, to understand people and their needs, to go beyond having good competencies and good managerial skills.

In this great book, Sinek places people at the forefront of the company and demonstrates that building a company from the ground up takes on a whole new sense. He believes that leaders have to take care of the well-being of their employees first and their employees will take care of the rest.

Besides, he doesn’t claim to be an idealist, to believe that all workers love their jobs and that all leaders treat their employees well. He understands that most people work out of necessity.

Lastly, he analyzes our biological needs and transposes them to the modern working world. Our natural needs are powerful forces that we cannot control.

Favorite quote(s)

In our modern world, advancing our careers and trying to find happiness and fulfillment are the definition of success. But the systems inside us that guide our behavior and decisions still function as they did tens of thousands of years ago. Our primitive minds still perceive the world around us in terms of threats to our well-being or opportunities to find safety.

Being a leader is like being a parent, and the company is like a new family to join. One that will care for us like we are their own . . . in sickness and in health. And if we are successful, our people will take on our company’s name as a sign of the family to which they are loyal.

This feeling of belonging, of shared values and a deep sense of empathy, dramatically enhances trust, cooperation and problem solving.

Quite often, what’s good for one is not necessarily good for the other. Working exclusively to advance ourselves may hurt the group, while working exclusively to advance the group may come at a cost to us as individuals.

Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust.

Ratings 3.75/5

Author

Simon Sinek

 

The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

Being oneself in corporate is difficult. Indeed, corporate is infamous for suppressing emotions, for promoting toxic behavior, for relying on military style hierarchy and for employing an oppressing and commanding leadership style. To humanize the corporate environment, organizations schedule team building events, ostentatious celebratory ceremonies, job satisfaction programs and other vain initiatives.

However, these events only disguise reality, don’t solve employee engagement, alignment and fulfillment, and almost often leave employees feeling alienated and manipulated. Lack of authenticity can easily become boring and even traumatic.

Whereas, enabling authenticity allows corporations to peak innovation, enthusiasm and creativity and to subsequently attract authentic customers.

Wondering how to avoid bending yourself to fit into the corporate mold, to be your authentic self at work, to make employees feel involved and celebrate their uniqueness?

The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

In the workplace, we take orders, hide our social lives, form superficial and hypocritical relationships, sacrifice our feelings and core values in order to make a living and to endanger the things that breathes life into us.

For example, leaders feel like they have to act their way through their role, they are unable to use their strengths, to be straightforward, to be genuine or to perform in accordance with their values and ideals. Subsequently, being consistent with their behavior becomes draining and unproductive.

But today, for millennial leaders, job satisfaction, self-fulfillment, authenticity have become a requirement. They are tired of the emotionless, depressing and cold corporate world, are skeptical about capitalism and resistant to the commanding leadership style, seek social progress and equity, voice dissent and unfairness.

That is why places like Google and Apple have come up with new ways to encourage employees quirks and weirdness.

So how to demonstrate authenticity in your leadership, to appreciate authenticity in employees and translate it into the corporation?

Old corporations used to suppress emotions which seemed to lead to rational decisions, to value conformity and an ability to execute orders without questions. Back in the day, being authentic would be a luxury but nowadays it has become essential to success. To be more authentic in your leadership:

  1. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Take time off for introspection, meditation and prayer to get to know yourself better, to confront your blind spots and to quiet the noise.
  2. Learn to speak the truth, to be honest with yourself and edit the lies you have been telling yourself for years. Doing so is difficult because most role models on television, in politics, in advertisements, in our lives lie without expecting any repercussion. Hiding behind the persona that you are expected to be at work, at home, with your friends, with your family, with strangers and with people from different backgrounds end up draining you.
  3. Practice being yourself in all situations to build up your confidence. No need to take on a persona all the time. Identify what aspect of your life you are willing to bring at work.
  4. Trust yourself and listen to your instincts. Circumstances should not dictate your choices and decisions.
  5. Accept and love yourself unconditionally. Furthermore, adjust your self-deprecating lens and perceptions of reality to understand your true value.
  6. Find the strength within to do the right thing and build up your integrity.
  7. Increase your emotional intelligence to appropriately deal with your emotions and with difficult situations, to understand the impact of their behavior on others.
  8. Discipline your thoughts in order to focus on your goals and remain consistent through difficult situations.
  9. Be an Essentialist, avoid temptations, stay away from the media and remove distractions. Distractions impedes us from challenging the world and the status quo, from questioning leaders, finding your true inspiration, changing lifestyle. Instead, direct your attention to wise, inspiring and motivating sources.Allow differences in opinions and nurture dissenting voices to spark constructive discussions and innovation.
  10. Respect cultural diversity and difference of lifestyles. For instance, allow creativity, informal clothing and employees with tattoos and piercings. Also, create excitement within your organization and help employees show their playful and fun side to overcome boredom and to increase employee engagement.
  11. Identify your purpose. Purpose is mostly found in times of pressure, when you are forced to examine your life, your values and your walk in life. However, pressure points are not always stimulants. Purpose can also come naturally to you. With purpose, you are automatically motivated and interested in what you are doing and careful about the implications of your work.
  12. Take care of yourself, eat healthy and exercise regularly to properly manage stressful situations.
  13. Give yourself permission to explore different work environments, secure those that bring out the best in you and prosper in the right role.
  14. Stay humble no matter what and stay close to your family and roots. Know that the success of the project and the well-being of your team come first.
  15. Be transparent. Speak your mind, avoid playing games and manipulating your employees. Lead at work the same way that you will lead at home.
  16. Ask for advice and opinions from your colleagues before making major decisions.
  17. Know who your friends are and build deeper relationships in the workplace. Your true friends will appreciate your success, your authenticity, will help you move toward your goal, give good advice and provide different perspectives on one situation.
  18. Find ways to measure and to genuinely celebrate successThis will help to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Introverted Leader In An Extrovert World

Cubicles are the worst invention for the workplace since the sixties. They were meant to give employees more freedom but have made them more unproductive and unfulfilled.

However, in the workplace, it seems to mostly benefit extroverted people. Indeed, extroverted individuals are friendly, partake in all the fun, get the most important projects and assume the most important positions, know everyone and go further in life. Therefore, introverts either tend to force themselves to adapt to society’s expectation or to give up on their dreams and desire for leadership.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts can be leaders even though introversion is considered a weakness.

There are many attributes to being an introverted leader. Introverted leaders are hard workers and high performers who simply lack people skill, who need their own time to think and become anxious otherwise. They have a rich imagination, get bored easily, love to retreat, yearn for quiet time, are energized by solitude, avoid social exchange and finally extract their strength from within.

Wondering how to harness your influence and how to make a difference as an introverted leader?

The introverted leadersThe Introverted Leader In An Extrovert World

Being an introverted leader has its many challenges in today’s competitive and aggressive workplace. Introverted leaders image and performance suffer because they:

  • are seen as weirdos, deviates and antisocial because they lack interpersonal skills,
  • are connected to the world 24/7, cannot escape anymore and shut down because they constantly feel invaded,
  • get fatigued from being around people all day, are easily and somatically affected by stress,
  • are unable to be assertive, to choose their own projects, to sell themselves and their achievements, to show themselves in the best light and say no to additional work,
  • downplay or are unaware of their potential,
  • are unable to build relationships that will take their career to the next level and become visible.

How to succeed as an introverted leader? Challenges of being an introverted leader

An introverted leaders has tremendous work to do to exhibit expected leadership behaviors. These behaviors will be unnatural at first but will  become second nature with practice.

Work on yourself

Working on yourself does not imply that you have or are a problem or that introversion is a disorder but means that you want to become the best version of yourself. To delete faulty assumptions about you and to reduce the pressure of an interaction:

  • Know yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, blindspots, limitations in order to increase your self-confidence, your emotional intelligence, to believe in yourself and capabilities, to be able to detach yourself in difficult situations, to avoid downplaying their personalities, external appearance, capabilities and past successes.
  • Because introverts internalize their problems, it is detrimental for you to value yourself, and treat yourself with respect, stop the self-destructive talk and make  daily affirmative statements and acknowledge your mistakes.
  • Give yourself time to process your thoughts internally and to recharge your batteries.
  • Introverts are inwardly oriented and cannot think on their feet. To compensate, mentally prepare yourself for conversations, presentations, interactions, meetings, job interviews by taking notes, learning key phrases and introduction, composing probing questions, producing back up topics and stories, and finally inviting feedback.
  • Control your voice and your body language. For example, as you are difficult to read, manage your facial expression, smile and look people in the eye to appear approachable.
  • Avoid gossiping, pleasing others, running away from conflicts, passive aggressive behavior, learn to participate in office politics, to resolve conflicts effectively and realistically locate the origin of the problem.
  • Introvert leaders and employees don’t complain and take on more work that they can handle. Learn to set limits, to say no and different ways to decline an invitation, to ask for help and for directions.
  • Take risks and get out your comfort zone to find new opportunities, discover new capabilities and know your limitations, increase your skills and knowledge, get creative and innovative.

Work on your relationships with others

Introverts are generally reserved, appear to be self-absorbed, act their way through their day and stay away from small talk. Maintaining meaningful relationships with people are difficult in itself without feeling the need to put on a front and without feeling exhausted by the process. While interacting with people, it is critical to:

  • Focus on the present moment, connect with people and give them your full attention. Actively listen (introverts are naturally good listeners), show authenticity and interest in the conversations, and extract what you need from the interaction to make a profound and lasting impression.
  • Know your team members, the purpose of the interaction to clarify and organize your speech.
  • Match people with their appropriate tasks by reading and observing them, by analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, by coaching them into their purpose. Understand the roles and ambition of your teammates.
  • Create a vision and incorporate each member of the workplace into it.
  • Set standards for your team and write them down, build up your credibility and team motivation.
  • Use open and direct communication. Write down valuable information in all cases.
  • Use social media platforms to network.
  • Find other introverts in your workplace and your energy will automatically increase.

Work on your understanding of your organization

To honor your introverted nature and to better understand the corporate culture and its priorities

  • Introverted leaders generally exercise reflective leadership. However, adapt your leadership style to the people, on their cultural background, on the situation, organization, on the level of extraversion of the crowd.
  • Gain additional visibility of your organization by taking on diverse assignments.
  • When being hired, negotiate a serenity package in your job where you get an office, a consequential lunch break for example.
  • Find a coach or a mentor and create an effective support system.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

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