For the vast majority of people, becoming a good leader is not something that happens overnight or some inherent skill that you’re born with. Like any skill, it usually only comes with practice, persistence, and plenty of mistakes along the way! One of the most important, but also most difficult, components of being a good manager is inspiring trust and respect in those under you. Once you have their respect, then everything else becomes a lot easier. Here’s how to make it happen.
Realize that you deserve to be where you are
Imposter syndrome seems to affect everyone at some stage of their lives, even those who appear to be excellent natural leaders from the outside. It’s generally characterized by a sense that you haven’t earned what you have; and that at any moment people are going to realize there’s been some big mistake and expose you as a ‘fraud’. If you’ve recently been promoted to a position of authority, you might find yourself feeling unworthy of it. The reason, of course, is not actually that you’re incompetent or worthless – it’s that you’re telling yourself you are. You have the power to turn that internal dialogue around. Whether it’s writing out a list of your accomplishments, presenting evidence to the contrary like a defense lawyer in the privacy of your own thoughts, talking yourself up in the mirror or reading a good motivational book – take charge and actively direct your thinking along more positive and productive lines. Over time, the process becomes ingrained and natural, and you can shoot down negative self-talk within seconds. Once you believe in you, it’s much easier for your employees to!
Dress the part
Humans are fickle creatures, and we do judge books by their covers from time to time. Starting to dress in a smarter and more professional manner immediately gives the impression that you mean business and can help your employees see you as someone they need to respect and want to impress. Clueless about where to start? Check out some of the latest House of Monatic corporate wear trends for inspiration, or rope in a fashion savvy friend to help give you a mini-makeover!
Everyone works best when they understand why they’re doing something. This seems to be especially true in the case of millennials entering the working world, and their older, more financially secure counterparts nearer to retirement who are looking for a more purpose-driven career. If you’ve ever been lumped with a tedious task that’s going to take hours of your time and seems to have no real point or benefit, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Explaining your reasoning behind a task you designate to an employee and how the outcome will be useful doesn’t just help motivate them, it demonstrates that you trust them too. And if you can’t come up with a good reason why, then it can also alert you that their talents and time might be more productively used elsewhere!
Praise in public, criticize in private
For an employee who’s really trying to do better at work but only ever seems to receive criticism when they get something wrong, it becomes impossible to stay motivated. By all means praise your high achievers for their accomplishments, but make sure you’re also paying attention to those quietly slogging away at something that doesn’t come naturally to them. When someone makes a mistake, take them aside and have a chat in private – never humiliate publicly. Take the time to explain where they went wrong, how they can do better next time, and make sure they have the tools to do so.
Learn to deal with conflict
Most people dislike conflict and will actively try to avoid it – but as a boss or manager, you’re going to have to face it from time to time. Being overly nice and shirking your responsibility to discipline those who step out of line encourages other employees to test the boundaries. It might make you very uncomfortable, but it’s a skill you need to work on if you want your staff to respect your authority.
Walk the talk
If you make promises, keep them. If you implement new policies or procedures, stick to them. If you make a mistake, admit it. If you ask for your employee’s feedback, make sure you really listen to it. Trust is earned and making it clear that what you say and what you do are in alignment is always the best way to inspire it.