Photo courtesy of The Eggplant
This morning, my doctor (a specialist, nonetheless) told me, “You know more about this than I do,” and sort of let me lead him through the rest of the appointment, during which I had to correct him several times about well documented medical information. I left there with only sort of what I needed, but with a new resolve to find a doctor who can lead me, rather than vice versa.
When it comes down to it, what all people really want, in virtually every situation, is leadership. Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer, nanny, auto mechanic or handyman, people want to feel like you know what you’re doing. When we seek out others for their services, we expect them to take a leadership role in the relationship that develops. We specifically sought them out because we needed guidance, and if they have none to offer, what transpires is just wasted time, energy and money.
In our own lives, we can alleviate this problem by providing leadership in our area of expertise. I feel fairly confident that most people have what it takes to be a leader in some capacity. Whatever your role is in society, master it. Along with learning everything you can about your leadership position, work on improving the following general leadership skills:
- Confidence – People will feel comfortable taking your advice and turning to you for guidance if you present yourself with a strong demeanor. Be self-assured, firm, make eye contact, avoid nervous laughter, and speak with certainty.
- Acceptance – A good leader listens well and is able to hear points of view that differ from his or her own. Be prepared to face conflicting opinions, attitudes, and viewpoints without being condescending or mean. Also – know how to ask appropriate questions when gathering information from others.
- Decisiveness – Ultimately, many final decisions will be up to you. Anticipate some people disagreeing with you and perhaps disliking you. You are there to lead, not to make friends.
- Empathy – You’re not out to make friends, but it is important that you care about helping the people that you are leading. A well-respected leader has a heart. Motivate those who look up to you by encouraging them often.
- Consistency – Avoid erratic behaviors and irresponsible decisions. Offer people the stability that comes with knowing what to expect from you. Offer quality, sensible solutions that follow a similar pattern. Avoid being aggressive one day and passive the next. That only confuses people and makes you seem like anything but a leader.
We all provide leadership – whether in business, parenting, education, love or friendship. Being a quality leader is a desirable trait in many aspects of life. Leaders solve problems and get results. What’s your leadership role?