Leadership: Good For Your Firm, Good For You

by dsnider 27. August 2014 13:45

BY DEBRA SNIDER

Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.
— Harry S. Truman

The key to effective time management and, thus, to achieving balance is to focus on what matters most — at work, at home, for you. The key to focusing on what matters most is to make conscious, intentional decisions about what you're going to do and what attitudes you're going to have. (If you need to refresh your understanding of what I mean by all these terms, check out my prior columns on this site.)

One of the most powerful and productive ways to use your time and effort at work is to be a leader. Leaders aren't very common and what they offer is uniquely valuable. Other people respond warmly and enthusiastically to leadership, and organizations need and recognize it. Demonstrate leadership and you'll feel powerful and significant, more connected, happier. Your colleagues will appreciate you more, you'll get rewarded and mentored and promoted, and opportunities will come knocking on your door.

Younger workers often assume that only senior people have sufficient power to be leaders, but that misses the point and, moreover, it's just wrong. As a senior executive, I had the responsibility of running my departments effectively, but the group, collectively, had far more power — and far more ability to accomplish results — than I had on my own.

Leadership is fundamentally about facilitating the work of other people. It has very little to do with hierarchy, job position, age, years of experience or personality. We all have or can develop followers: that is, people who are interested in what we think and will be influenced by our words and actions; people we want to see succeed and who want to see us succeed; people who share our values and our desire to contribute to a work environment that will make us happy.

Everyone can demonstrate the kind of leadership that makes working easier and suiting yourself a reality. There are as many ways to become a leader as there are individual personality types. Some people lead by ideas or by energizing groups. Some operate way out in front of the pack, others coach from behind the scenes. But wherever you work, whatever position you hold in an organization, and whatever your personality type, you have frequent, perhaps constant, opportunities to make things better and to help other people realize their potential.

What does this kind of leadership look like in action? Click here for a list of leadership competencies and here for a list of specific leadership behaviors. Then, commit yourself today to becoming a leader and working to create a group where everyone contributes and feels valued, energized and productive.

Don't choose to be powerless and miserable. Don't tolerate less-than-great work environments. Choose a leadership style that suits your personality and your skills, put some skin in the game, and find ways — day in and day out — to make your workplace better. Not only will you get all the benefits that leadership offers, you'll also be getting the very best bang for your time and energy bucks.

Debra Snider is an author, speaker, no-longer-practicing lawyer, former senior executive, and mother of two grown children.  Her published works include two nonfiction business books, one specifically for lawyers, and the novel A MERGER OF EQUALS, which readers have called “one of the most enlightening and true works of fiction about corporate life and love,” "a book that will change your life," and “virtually impossible to put down.”  A Chicagoan until 2005, Debra and her husband now live in Nevada.  Click here for more info on her biography, books, and appearances.

Tags:

Debra Snider | Leadership | Organization and Time Management | Quick Look | Suit Yourself | Women at Work

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