The best leaders often come across as powerful and persuasive. They are clear on where they are going and are sure-footed along the way. They overcome obstacles and move aside naysayers…but they never bully or manipulate.
How do you manage your behavior so you are perceived as an effectively assertive leader who people want to follow rather than an overly aggressive leader people try to avoid?
There is a major difference. When you find a way to make your voice heard in a confident and respectful way, you come across as assertive and this shows leadership strength. When you dominate the discussion and squelch other opinions in a demeaning and disrespectful way, you come across as aggressive and this alienates your team and decreases your influence as a leader.
Surely you’ve seen this aggressive behavior before. We certainly have in our twenty-plus years in the field of leadership coaching. One of the most persuasive arguments for ceasing this kind of behavior is to observe the effect it has on the team. Employees are offended and angry at being abruptly and rudely cut off. They feel undervalued and powerless. They feel disrespected and unheard. They begin to hold their thoughts and disengage. No responsible leader would want these reactions from the very team they must count on for success. They know that to succeed they need the hearts and minds of the entire team.
In our customized leadership training programs, we recommend several ways to soften your approach…not weaken it but rather pay more attention to how you want to be perceived.
1. Listen to yourself.
Make sure your tone of voice is modulated. Do you sound angry or forceful? Abusive or determined? Dictatorial or strong? Often it is not the words you use that leave an impression, but the tone you use to deliver your message.
Also monitor your delivery pace. When you talk fast, making one point after another, and leave no room for rebuttal, questions or debate, you can come across as a bully. The best leaders know how to be passionate in expressing their opinions but are open to ask for and listen to others’ thoughts.
2. Recognize the emotion behind the communication.
When you feel strongly about something, temper your emotion. Rather than berating an employee who has really messed up, ask how they plan to repair the damage. You may well be angry but take a deep breath before you respond. Angrily expressing your frustration will not help the employee nor encourage your team to solve the problem. Your role as a leader is to guide your team toward solutions and to create the environment for them to succeed.
Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/leadership-development/