How to be a leader at work without being bossy
Bossy bosses tend to expect things to be done at the click of their fingers. They ignore workplace stress, treat people in an authoritarian manner, and may act like a bully. Instead of managing in a controlled manner, their management style is controlled by their emotions. A study by the University of Manchester’s Business School found that people managed by such bosses are more dissatisfied at work and more likely to suffer depression. Unsurprisingly, by extension such bosses tend to lead teams with lower productivity, higher absenteeism and higher staff turnover.
How can you become a leader at work without being bossy?
Newly promoted leaders especially find it difficult to lead without using their new-found authority in an ill-advised way. Often, they feel that they need to exert their authority rather than employ an influencing leadership style to engage employees. This is particularly the case when things go wrong or results falter.
You don’t need to be bossy to be effective. Instead of using authority to get tasks done, by focusing on connecting with your people and building good manager/employee relationships, you could influence a more engaged environment in which solution finding and accountability fuel productivity. In order to change style and increase influence, you must first develop self-awareness – the primary element of emotional intelligence.
How to improve your emotional intelligence to evolve leadership influence
As a leader, there is one constant in all you do, the tasks you tackle, and the tasks you delegate. That constant is you. It is therefore essential that you understand yourself. This is the first step on the path to influential leadership. Only by knowing yourself can you know others. Here are five ways to improve your self-awareness:
- Identify your emotional triggers, the things that cause you to respond in certain ways, and how this determines how others behave toward you. What makes you respond the way you do? How does that response impact on other’s perceptions of you, and shape their reactions?
- Listen to what others tell you about you, and actively seek feedback. This helps to build empathy – provided you act on that feedback positively. You may discover things about yourself that you don’t like and were unaware of. This will help you to shape the way you act, react and behave. More positive and measured responses will improve your effectiveness.
- Visualize outcomes before you act, and alter your behavior to solicit the most positive of your predicted results. When you adjust behaviors, it is important to remain true to your values and beliefs, and remain genuine and authentic. You are being yourself, but more skilfully exerting your influence.
- Increase your positive responses by continually assessing impacts on others and being honest about your priorities and values. Consider cause and effect, and determine the behaviors that achieve the best results and how to act accordingly more often. Simultaneously, work on eliminating those behaviors that get negative results.
- Understand that your emotional self is not a fixed state. You evolve with age, circumstance, events and position. Therefore, self-awareness is a continuous challenge, requiring continuous examination and assessment.
Five strategies to stop being bossy and start being more influential
As your self-awareness improves, you will gain a greater understanding of your natural behaviors. You can use this learning to shape your actions to improve your leadership results. As you do so, here are five strategies to move you away from bossiness and toward influence.
1. Concentrate on working collaboratively with your team
You all have the same overarching goal, working within the same company rules and adhering to the same company policies. Work together as a team, collaborating to find solutions and innovating using unique experiences of team members.
2. Be open and transparent
Share your experiences, hopes and fears. Encourage your people to come forward and voice their own concerns. Listen to them, and help them develop their careers by providing mentoring, coaching and training to improve their prospects.
3. Delegate responsibility and recognize achievement
Delegation is the art of managing tasks. Effective delegation is an art of managing people. Share responsibility with people by delegating tasks that will challenge them, use their current skills, and aid their improvement. Don’t forget to recognize and reward good work.
4. Communicate more effectively
When communicating with your team or individuals, ensure that you use appropriate language, tone of voice, etc. Instead of telling, ask for opinions and advice, and come to joint decisions by leading the conversation rather than dictating its conclusion.
5. Show empathy, always
Be empathetic to the problems of your employees. Listen to their views, their fears and their concerns. Give them your undivided attention, and see situations from their perspective.
Leading your people is the most important responsibility in management. Manage tasks by control, manage people by influence. Improving your self-awareness and emotional intelligence will help you become the boss you want to be, and the leader that your people want to follow in a less stressful workplace.
For further insight into how to develop your leadership capabilities, contact Forward Focus today to discover how our Management Development Series could help you become more emotionally intelligent and better influence performance.