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The 3 Best (& Worst) Ways to Stand Out as a Leader

Source |  | Matt Black,  Experienced Communications Manager


This post originally appeared on on Friday March 24, 2017.

If you manage people in your professional life, you shoulder a heavy load.

While it has certainly been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career to date, it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally taxing in many ways.

Whether it’s just a few or a whole boardroom full of people, ensuring your team are performing up to expectations (or above!) with smiles on their faces is no easy feat… and that’s putting it mildly!

In a world where research done by Gallup states that a mind-boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her Manager, there are some things you just can’t afford to do. But in the same breath, there are behaviours you can model and strategies you can use to ensure that you’re standing out in a positive way.

Sure, everybody’s raving about you and your management style… but is it for the right or wrong reasons?

Here are the 3 best and worst ways to stand out as a leader:

The Best:


Spend time in the trenches

The importance of this no-brainer is surprisingly lost on far too many people in positions of power.

How can you possibly pretend to understand what your team needs from you if you don’t spend any time with them?

The benefits gained from investing time alongside your employees are countless: camaraderie, respect, insights into areas of strength and improvement, experience, improved problem-solving, higher collaboration… shall I continue?

And trust me – the difference is palpable and a shift in morale can occur immediately. Who doesn’t want to feel like their boss is approachable, relatable and understanding? One of the best ways to demonstrate that is by getting your hands dirty.

By showing your team that you’re interested in experiencing what they go through (i.e. maybe it’s taking calls from customers), you humanize yourself and remove the hierarchical gap between you and your employees.

I’m not suggesting you have to remain connected at the hip at all times, because nobody likes to feel micro-managed… but you should at the very least be familiar with your team’s routines.

Be accountable always

And always means always.

No passing the buck, no excuses… you are in control of your own choices as a leader, so act like it! Take responsibility. Volunteer to put out the fires, even if you didn’t start them (but ESPECIALLY if you’ve started them).

This also includes having your team’s back, especially when they have dropped the ball or are taking heat for something they’ve done; get in front of it and show them that you support them regardless of the circumstances.

Over time, your employees will realize that you are somebody that they can count on, even while they face the most difficult circumstances.

Push yourself to get better

It’s natural for people to want to follow somebody that inspires them, somebody that pushes them.

This is why perpetual learning and development is so eye-catching and critical for successful leaders today.

Demonstrating a commitment to your own growth as a professional or person will trigger something in your employees. It might compel others to follow the same steps or path to improve themselves, and in the process, unlock some different talents or passions that might become valuable to your team as a whole.

When was the last time you actively strived to enhance your abilities as a leader? Have you invested time in yourself to become more capable in your role? If the answer to these questions isn’t a definitive “yes,” this has to be an area you need to add to your “To Do” list



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