Being a leader comes in many different forms. You see leaders across different industries from sports to education to medicine and corporations who all have different leadership styles. However, not all leaders are created equal. When it comes to how to be a leader at work, no matter what your industry is, there are a few key elements that will set you apart from others.
The first is all your team members are important–as an executive, it can be easy to be swept up in the world of board members and CEOs, but supporting roles are just as, if not more important.
Similarly, good leaders listen to their teams. It’s not just about hearing what other executives think and what customers want. It’s also about what your team wants and needs.
The Importance of Supporting Rolls
One of the characteristics that define a leader is how they treat their team members. Being a good leader is not just about ensuring the executive staff and customers are well cared for. It’s also about ensuring the team members themselves are treated well.
A company cannot live without its support and logistical staff. If those team members are frequently overlooked, not only will the company’s morale suffer, but the output of those team members will be lower. Additionally, customers will start to see lower quality service.
Exceptional Leaders Appreciate Their Team
A great leader will understand that the team members are vital to the success of the company and will treat all team members with respect. Being a good leader for all roles in the business means remembering to thank those in supporting roles and seeing what you can do for them.
Being available for all your team members and ensuring that you are approachable is one of the keys in how to be a leader at work. It is easier said than done, but it is achievable. It all starts with respect for everybody.
Respecting every team member doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with them. You can. You may even have an argument with them. Still, by appreciating where they are coming from and respecting the team member personally and professionally, even in debates, you can help make the company better because you will come to a resolution that will be better for everyone.
When working with team members, it’s important to be vulnerable to develop a sense of empowerment and trust. But opening yourself up to those types of relationships can be a challenge.
One of the best ways to open yourself to your team members is by having a sense of humility. People are often proud of what they do, and if you offer them the opportunity to share their knowledge, it will go a long way.
No matter what role the team member plays in a company, you can learn from them. Whether it’s digital marketing, franchise development, or sales, you can begin to understand more about the company while learning from your team members and showing that you know you don’t know everything.
Showing this humility allows your teammates to see that you are ok with not being an expert in every aspect of the company. It shows a humility that goes along with being a servant leader and helps to build that foundational relationship with your team and prove that you care about them and their role in the company.
For those who may believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness, just keep in mind that being humble balanced with strong leadership can be helpful. It disarms your team members and lets them realize you are open to all suggestions and are willing to learn the inner workings of the company. It also shows that you are ready to be flexible and change the processes because you’re open to feedback and ideas from team members in the trenches and know what processes are and aren’t working.
I believe that vulnerability shows your team members three things when you ask for help:
- It shows that you respect them
- Also, it shows that you respect their skills and experiences
- Finally, by opening up to them it shows that you trust them
In return, they will be more vulnerable with you which will give you more access to their story and their world. This will provide you the opportunity to put them in the best position possible to be successful. It will also allow you to know what makes them tick and how they will respond to different circumstances.
To learn more about how to be a leader at work, listen to this full episode of The Athletics of Business Podcast with guest Lou Schager. Lou walks through how his naval career helped him to be a good leader as he helped develop the brand for Mosquito Joe.