Blog written by recruiter Koreena Geisler-Wagner.
Many would describe themselves as a “leader” (because no one wants to self-describe as a “follower”), but what does it mean to truly lead those around you? While leadership and power often go hand in hand, there is one important distinction that sets leadership apart: it’s about “making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” In other words, leadership is about leaving your mark and making a positive impact.
In his article “Leadership Material: How To Up Your Game,” Forbes contributor Rodger Dean Duncan recounts his interview on the topic with leadership coach and author Diana Jones. Here are a few important tips and distinctions Jones and Duncan identify:
- Focus (1) on your relationships with others and (2) on their experience with you. A true leader’s personal qualities and demeanor will inspire and motivate more than any leadership tool/technique– ever heard the phrase “a true leader leads by example?”
- Make minor behavioral adjustments to set a specific tone when interacting with people; Jones suggests such simple changes as saying “hello” before jumping into business discussions, maintaining eye contact when conversing, and contributing to group discussions early rather than waiting until the end (or not saying anything at all).
- Be approachable. Humans, by our very nature, will distance ourselves from those we perceive to be emotionally and socially unavailable– in other words, we avoid people who exude frustration, criticism, and judgement. Being “available to connect” with others is extremely important in maintaining a leader’s mentality.
Every interaction with others forms an impression of you in their heads– how do you want to be remembered? People are far more likely to reflect warmly on those leaders who exude the qualities mentioned above as opposed to those who sit high on the ladder of power, not taking the time to demonstrate such approachability and exemplary behavior.