There are a number of behaviors that translate into becoming a successful leader in the workplace. However, I believe that what really separates the employees from the true leaders are the decisions that you make in those tough times. What matters are those certain behaviors that you display in the challenging times, in the face of CHANGE, when it would be easier to do what feels good in the short term instead of what’s right for you and others in the long term. The actions you take in those defining moments either chart a course for success or steer you further from your goals.
When you need to just let it go
Maybe you’re aggravated beyond belief that your peer, who doesn’t work as hard as you, just got the promotion that you have wanted forever. Or maybe, you have a peer that repeated some information that you told them in confidence. It could be that you have someone you work with that didn’t support you in an office meeting (when they said that they would). You can’t stop steaming that they did this to you and it’s always on the forefront of your mind. But here’s the thing— not letting this go is getting in the way of you putting your best foot forward NOW. You are reliving yesterday on a daily basis. It’s like lugging an extra 10 pounds around your neck every day to work. The bottom line is that focusing on the past zaps your energy and blocks your ability to focus on positive outcomes in the present.
Knowing which battles to fight
You know exactly how to solve the identified problem in the weekly meeting but your boss has other ideas. You see how important this is to your boss and you know him well enough to predict accurately that if you speak up it will only irritate him and get him to dig in his heels even more. It takes everything in you to keep quiet and let things unfold on their own. Great leaders realize that not every situation deems your need to push the issue. Great leaders know that they must be strategic about when to fight the battle and when to just let things be. It’s very possible that you can have the right answer but others aren’t ready to hear it yet.
Apologizing when you know that you are right
Saying you’re sorry is hard. Actually, it’s hard enough when you really are in the wrong. However, as a leader there might be times when you have to apologize when you technically aren’t responsible and you’re actually right. This act takes strength of character and integrity. Despite the fact that you’re right, taking responsibility in certain situations enables everyone to have closure and move forward. Again, it’s about thinking strategically and realizing what is best for everyone in the long run, and not only what makes YOU feel good now.
Becoming a successful leader takes time. You are human so you are prone to making mistakes. With self-awareness, you can learn from your missteps in the workplace and tackle the tough times with confidence and grace.