Leadership sets the culture. That is true if we are talking about a country or a company. Sometimes, people put too much stock in non-essentials when determining if someone is ready for leadership. Additionally, people can rely on the wrong things to enforce the culture they are cultivating.
In this episode, I’ll answer a listener question along these lines.
This week’s question comes from India and an anonymous listener; it comes in two parts. What do you do when your responsibility outweighs your experience? And how can you develop tact, influence, and authority while being welcoming, caring, and nice?
I want to address the first portion of the question. We, as leaders, need to recognize that time served is not the data or litmus test to determine if someone is ready for a position. Performance, attitude, and quality of work are far more relevant and better indicators of potential for success. It can be challenging to lead those who feel your age or experience is a hindrance, but there will always be a lot of jealously in the world. If you have the support of your leadership, be confident in that. Work to cultivate that support and focus on what matters. You have to perform, be professional and be clear about the support you do have.
As far as developing influence and leading while still being kind and caring, that is a great attitude to have; especially leading people. Dominating and intimidating people to get things done are an abuse of power. This type of leadership sets a culture. If you want to set a culture of firmness and fairness, you can do that without fostering a culture of fear. Firm ins being clear, not being mean or intimidating or embarrassing someone. Be clear, be firm, and be as nice as you want to be.
The best way to get others to do what needs doing is to treat them respectfully and make sure there is something in it for them. A leader’s job is to make more leaders, not enemies. When you lead with empathy, you get results, and stuff gets done. Know your values. Ask yourself how you want your family treated in the workforce. Then go and treat people that way.
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