Whether you've just started your career or you're a seasoned professional, establishing yourself as a strong leader at work can boost your ability to achieve success in the short term and advance your career over the long term. And being a leader could mean managing employees, offering direction to co-workers or cultivating an environment that fosters potential. No matter your role, play to your strengths to establish yourself as a leader, a visionary and a team player.
ART OF PERSUASION
It goes without saying that men and women are different—and that isn't a bad thing. Aside from the obvious biological differences, men and women have differences of attitude and behavior that can impact the way we make decisions, communicate and ultimately understand one another.
A recent study by Caliper highlighted one such difference: Female leaders were more persuasive in the workplace than their male counterparts. These same leaders are also able to use their strong communication skills to create an office atmosphere that encourages open communication and consensus among co-workers. And fostering agreement in the office can be good for many reasons, from relieving stress and creating a more relaxed atmosphere to instilling a sense of mentorship among colleagues, both novice and veteran. Since communication is often a natural strength for women, female leaders who are able to speak persuasively in the office can better encourage others to leverage their own strengths.
CREATING A COMMUNITY
Being a strong leader also means understanding the importance of—and then working to establish—a sense of community in the workplace. Being able to communicate why an employee's job matters to the overall success of the team is just as important as assigning the job itself. Offering understanding and respect for the roles that they each play generates a sense of pride and accountability among your teammates.
Open communication and a level of trust allow your colleagues to better appreciate those around them, regardless of whether someone is a summer intern or a manager. To practice building a community of colleagues yourself, work to establish the worth of each person's role in the office and then capitalize on the natural feelings of mutual respect and coordination that follow.
One of the hardest skills to master for any leader is the ability to leverage your social capital. Social capital is not how many friends you have on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn, but rather the blend of diplomacy skills, emotional intelligence and interpersonal impact that a leader has. When you tap into these skills, you're better able to develop more trusting and meaningful relationships with colleagues, creating a supportive workplace environment and better opportunities to leverage your network of relationships to achieve positive results.
By finding ways to flex your muscles in all of these areas during the workday, you'll be better able to lead—as well as inspire—those around you.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com; entrepreneur.com
Article provided by Melissa Stewart, CFP®, AIF®, Financial Advisor at Blueway Financial Partners of Raymond James.
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