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How to Be a Leader People Can Follow

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 8/27/12 4:50 AM
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There’s at least one leadership quality that a good manager/supervisor must possess, and that’s confidence. You can have many other amazing leadership qualities, but without confidence, any quality can be undermined. While self-assurance doesn’t come easily to everyone, the six actions listed below are characteristic of confident leaders.

  1. Acknowledge your strengths but know your limits. No one expects you to be good at everything; in fact, it’s your job to recognize the strengths of your direct reports and let them deliver. You don’t show confidence by trying to do things beyond your ability.
  2. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Don’t always settle for what is safe if pushing the envelope could result in a more positive outcome. While a healthy fear of failure can keep you realistic, it shouldn’t keep you from taking a few measured risks.
  3. Own up to your mistakes. Trying to cover up your own errors will send the wrong message to employees, and mistakes will inevitably happen. The important part is to admit when you’ve erred, fix the problem, and learn from the situation.
  4. Speak up. Quiet observation is appropriate in certain situations, but regularly staying silent can send the message that you don’t understand what’s going on or don’t have the confidence to assert yourself. Either can leave your employees wondering if you’re a worthy leader to follow.
  5. Don’t boast. Strong leaders earn respect and exude confidence through their actions. Singing your own praises may cause people to wonder if your self-proclaimed magnificence is for real.
  6. Be prepared. Failing to do your homework before a meeting or discussion is a good way to appear unconfident. If you’re caught off guard, don’t try to fake an understanding; it’s okay to admit you’re not up to speed and reschedule a conversation.

It can be understandably difficult for employees to get behind leaders who regularly second-guess themselves, apologize repeatedly, or let fear rule their decision-making processes. No one is born a leader; you become one.

Engaging in behaviors like those listed above can help ensure that you’re viewed as a leader your employees feel comfortable following. Training Managers, how many of the above six qualities do you possess?

 



Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: managing training, training manager

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