At one point in my broadcasting career, I had a boss who ruled through fear. He created an atmosphere where employees feared they were one mistake away from losing their job. His leadership style was the direct opposite of that advocated by legendary coach John Wooden.
“Great leaders are always out in front with a banner, rather than behind with a whip,” says Wooden.
Being a leader is the best way to maximize your job security. And the great news is that you don’t need a leadership title to be a leader within your station or organization.
Here are 14 tips for being a leader in your workplace:
1. Make yourself a leader
Leaders aren’t appointed. They earn it.
2. Always be professional
Treat others with fairness and respect, and keep your cool when those around you are losing theirs.
3. Set an example for everybody
From owners and general managers to interns, you are constantly being watched.
4. Earn respect by doing, not dictating
Get into the trenches with co-workers. Notice what needs to be done, then do it, even if it’s not your job.
5. Be passionate about your job & station
Even if you don’t truly feel it, fake it. Convince others that you have the greatest job in the world.
6. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
People will notice you as someone who holds their self to a higher standard. You’ll also carry yourself with more pride and confidence.
7. Communicate promptly
The issue that someone has reached out to you about may be No. 32 on your priority list but it might be Top 3 on theirs. They can’t move forward until hearing back from you.
8. Be accountable for your mistakes
Leaders own their mistakes, even when the error isn’t truly their fault. A common example is coaches taking responsibility for their team’s poor performance when everyone knows it was their players who laid the egg.
9. Do what you say you’ll do
10. Be a big thinker
Don’t settle for the status quo. Generate and implement new ideas to move your team forward. The most valuable ideas will seem impossible to many but not to you.
11. Be willing to evolve
The best time to make changes is when things are going well.
12. Be a friend
Be approachable for co-workers to share ideas and frustrations.
13. Be a people builder
Help co-workers to feel good about themselves. If you must share a negative, precede it with a positive.
14. Be willing to be lead
An idea that benefits the organization is a good one, regardless of who comes up with it.