Maybe you’re a top level manager of your firm. Maybe you’re at an entry level job, still working to carve your career path. Regardless of your job title, there are simple yet powerful actions you can take to lead effectively at every level in order to foster a culture of inclusiveness and empowerment.
Get to know yourself.
“Self-awareness is very important; it allows individuals to learn how to build relationships with their personal style and understand how to best interact with others” (Eagle’s Flight). As MBA students at St. Kate’s we’ve had the opportunity to assess our personalities and strengths through our coursework. Review these assessment results and make an action plan to more consciously leverage your strengths to be an effective team member and leader.
From the clothes you wear to the conversations you have, choose to be your authentic self. Many times, employees attempt to fill the shoes of who they think they are supposed to be, rather than being their authentic selves. When they do this, they lose their personal identity, and often their confidence and motivation suffer as well. As long as you are professional and follow any set standards that your employer may have, embrace your own personal “brand,” your identity. With authenticity comes stronger relationships, enhanced reputation, and respect.
Support, don’t direct.
Have you ever been a part of a team project, and someone has an idea that you know just won’t work? Or, have you had a crystal clear vision of how to accomplish something, and then your coworker moves forward with a completely different process?
Choose to support rather than direct. If you have delegated tasks to someone, allow them to work through the project in a way that works for them. And, if there is a situation where you are confident that there needs to be a change, ask open-ended questions to help the team member explain their perspective, and work together to come to an agreed upon change or solution.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling
Mistakes can be incremental in growing as a leader. Being open about mistakes big and small, and – more importantly – offering a solution not only builds your credibility, but promotes an environment where others can continuously learn and grow from their own mistakes. This sense of comfort, of transparency is empowering and can lead to more growth and success than work cultures where employees feel like they need to hide from these learning opportunities.
So, whether you’re a top executive of your firm or a part of a large team, choose to lead in a way that empowers yourself and others.
Written by Brittany Woitas
Brittany is in cohort 4, which started in Fall of 2015. She is a Marketing Consultant by day and fitness junkie wannabe by night. When she’s not nose-deep in a book that she has to read for her MBA class, you can find her kayaking on the river or bicycling to a brewery. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.