“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” —Ray Kroc
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
The standards you set for yourself, as a leader, will either result in leadership that is balanced, or leadership that is ineffective and awkward. Employees can quickly see through false motives and inauthentic behavior. Here are four tips for becoming a more balanced leader.
Confidence vs. humility
As a leader, you must find a balance between confidence and humility. Employees need to know they are following a competent leader, one who can stand with confidence in the face of challenges. On the other hand, they will never be inspired by arrogance. Balanced leadership requires you to show humility, that you do not see yourself as better than, or as more worthy than your employees while still being confident.
Trust vs. distrust
As a leader, you must develop mutually trusting relationships. Employees must know you trust their ability to complete tasks in their own way and make decisions. They must also know that they can trust you to look out for their best interests. Distrust, whether perceived or real, on the part of either party corrodes relationships, teams, morale, and the ability to influence. Balanced leadership requires you to manage not only the relationships you build, but also employees’ perceptions of trust.
Curiosity vs. judgment
No one individual knows everything. As a leader, you must learn to be curious. What do your employees know that you don’t? What are you missing when you look at a situation or try to resolve a problem? When you judge you are letting your ego stand in the way of being open to the idea that you might not know everything. Stop assuming you have all the answers and encourage your employees to help you see the world through the lens of their experiences and knowledge. Balanced leadership requires you to have the ability to make judgment calls when necessary but to remain open and curious about what you might not know.
You vs. them
The most important thing for you to remember, as a leader, is that it’s not about you. It’s about the relationships and partnerships you develop with employees, clients, and vendors. These relationships are based, not on you, but on focusing on them as individuals. Brag about your people; make them the heroes of the story. Balanced leadership requires you to recognize the responsibility that falls on you, but to also know that your leadership focus is not about you, but about those you lead and collaborate with.
Balanced leadership requires that you balance much needed confidence with the humility that allows you to inspire others. It’s about developing trust while eliminating even the perception of distrust. It requires embracing curiosity while limiting judgment in situations where employees may have more knowledge than you. And, most of all, it’s about putting the focus on those you lead instead of yourself. Take the time to evaluate your leadership and work on becoming a more balanced leader.
© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli
Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.