How to Be a Leader in the Workplace

Many jobs require that employees be “team players.” You may hear that so often that it becomes meaningless. But it isn’t – being a team player is a fairly broad term, but it can include an important attribute that employers appreciate: leadership.

Being a leader in the workplace does not necessarily mean being a boss, manager, supervisor, or other “official” position, although it can mean that. Being a leader in the workplace can also mean setting a good example for others and/or heading up office programs and projects, informally training others on an aspect of the job, or being the ‘go-to’ person when information or help is needed.  

These examples are great ways to get noticed, for more challenging projects, or to move up into a formal leader role.

Here are some tips and ideas on how to be a leader in the workplace:

Be Confident

There’s a saying that can serve you well in the workplace: “Never let them see you sweat.” Of course, no one is perfect; but appearing confident inspires others to trust you and take your advice. One way to ensure that you appear self-assured is not to talk too much about your fears and concerns; talk to friends outside of the workplace about your uncertainties.

Confidence comes from knowing and owning your achievements and/or recognizing your skills and abilities. Begin daily to recognize these so your confidence (and self-belief) will soar; write them down, keep an accomplishment jar, or journal about them.

See the Good in Others

Being able to see the good traits in others is a useful leadership trait in the workplace. If you need to put certain people in charge of certain tasks, it pays to know who will do well with what task. You also may see potential in a co-worker and “stretch” him or her by requesting a task that might be a bit challenging. This improves the overall skill set of the workforce and helps build self-esteem in your co-workers., not to mention getting more done and achieving work goals.

Giving recognition of others is a needed skill for a leader so the more you do so, the better your relationships and cooperation you will get. You will be perceived as an inspiring leader.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

There’s a difference between being a people person and being a people pleaser. Being a people person means you have a genuine love for people, but you’re not afraid to ask people to do things. Being a leader doesn’t mean just doing everything yourself; it means you are comfortable giving up some control and delegating tasks to others.

When you hold on to information, you can be seen as a micromanager and push-back can occur. Knowing the skills and abilities of team members will help with delegation that speaks to these and empowers team members to also take the lead.

Appreciate Co-Workers

No one wants to work for or with someone who doesn’t appreciate them. If you let everyone know you appreciate what they’ve done and how they’ve given their time and talents, it can go a long way towards job satisfaction and engagement.

It’s always good to remember that there would be no leaders if there weren’t any followers. People who are appreciated may be more likely to follow your lead next time. A thank you is still the number one way that employees want to hear to feel valuable. Giving complements or publicly recognizing a contribution will go a long way to a more cohesive team.

Problem Solving

If you step up with ideas on how to solve dilemmas, problems, etc., and have resourceful ideas about how to accomplish something, then speak up. Employers value employees who have ability to think through a problem and find a creative solution (just don’t do this at the expense of another).

Looking at solutions, versus only problems, is a part of creativity so don’t be afraid to contribute your ideas and solutions to any workplace challenge. This is a valuable leadership quality, plus you can position yourself as a go-to person on the team.

Whether you desire to be in a formal leadership role or not, you still possess leader qualities and abilities that are valued in your work. You just have to know and believe in them so others do the same. Mindset matters…

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