If you’ve successfully climbed the corporate ladder to become a leader, you may feel you’ve “made it” and your days of being challenged are behind you. Nothing could be further from the truth, as it’s one thing to be a leader, and something else entirely to be a successful leader—someone who has mastered the non-technical skills necessary to garner respect and motivate teams to succeed.
It takes much more than being technically proficient to be a great leader. In addition, it’s necessary to develop these four behavioral qualities:
Developing a connection means leveraging your impact through your interactions using an effective communication style. Communicating successfully has a lot to do with how you’re perceived by your peers, your team and your customers. To be a strong leader, you must be a good communicator. That includes understanding other people’s communication styles and tailoring your messages accordingly and often adopting a “learning mode” by asking relevant questions while knowing which topics to avoid.
Credibility is essential to being seen not only as a great leader, but also as someone who is an authority and expert with relevant knowledge in a particular field. Developing it is often based on others’ perception of you and it requires four constructs according to Dr. G. Richard Shell, professor and director of the Wharton Executive Negotiation Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. Do people perceive you as:
- A relevant authority (informal or formal)?
- An expert with relevant knowledge?
- Someone who’s competent?
- Someone who can be trusted?
Developing trust is one of the most critical capabilities required to be a successful leader. If people don’t see you as believable, it’s unlikely they’re going to work hard for you or with you. There are a number of ways to strengthen people’s trust in you:
- Tell both sides of the story
- Deliver on your promises
- Keep confidences
- Be consistent in your values
- Encourage the exploration of ideas (listen)
- Put others’ interests first
Being influential means having strong self-awareness, understanding how others see you and realizing you are judged the moment you enter a room. It also includes successfully assessing and navigating the unique needs and expectations of your peers, team, and customers as well as establishing mutual respect, aligning goals, and being authentic.
What’s the takeaway from this? There’s work to be done once you attain a leadership position to ensure you’ll be successful. Focus on developing the behavioral qualities noted above and you’ll soon find yourself in the coveted position of being a great leader.