How Do I Exercise My Leadership Skills At Work?

For a start, let’s establish the difference between management and leadership. According to Professor Warren G. Bennis, “Leaders are people who do the right thing” while “Managers are people who do things right.” Leadership is basically inspiring people to do things while management can often be about dictating what people should do. 

Leadership is seen as an art while management is seen as a science though both help to get things done. The difference is that motivation comes from within a person who is led while the impetus for action often comes externally when ordered by a manager.

So, to answer the question, how can you show your leadership skills at work, here are 5 ideas you should consider.

Lead By Example. If you want others to be enthusiastic about a project, show some enthusiasm as well. Even if you are overwhelmed by the task at hand, show others that it can be done. If you see work more as an opportunity than a problem, others will start to see it that way too. Your colleagues will learn from your positive attitude and your ability to think outside the box. Also, if others see you working hard, they will most likely feel out of place not doing the same.

Be Open.  Even if you are in a leadership role, take the time to listen to your colleagues. Get rid of the notion that you have to dictate to others what they should do. Be democratic. Allow others to speak up and share their thoughts and views. Encourage an exchange of ideas and prompt consensus whenever possible. Keep in mind the saying, “you have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.” 

Be Fair. So, you have been assigned a large task and are supposed to be the leader of the group? Divide the work so that each person becomes accountable for their assignment. Assign tasks based on each person’s capabilities. Don’t assign work based on your closeness to or what you hope to get from a person. If there’s a mismatch between a person’s capabilities and the task assigned to him, the whole group will suffer. Ultimately, it will be your fault.

Be Responsible. Closely related to the tip above, take responsibility for whatever the outcome is. If a challenge arises, take the lead to find solutions. Assist others especially when they have difficulties. If the team succeeds, don’t forget to congratulate them for a job well done. Bear in mind that being a good leader is about providing the cohesion that makes all the parts of the team work.

Leaders Are Coaches. Real leaders, even without the prestige of high positions, are not threatened by co-workers or subordinates who show exemplary ability in an area. Leaders should be able to use their knowledge and abilities to deliver results. Leaders coach those who need a little more push or a gentle shove to bring out the best in their professional endeavours. They encourage others to become better at what they are already good at and suggest opportunities for improvement.

It really does not matter if you hold a high position or if you manage several departments and people. What matters most is how you enjoin others to collaborate on tasks, share a common vision and aspire towards success.

Picture Attribution: "Female Executive Showing Thumbs Up" by stockimages/