Regardless of the industry that you’re in, the amount of time you have been a leader, or what level of leader you are – there will be times when you may feel as though your equals and subordinates don’t take you seriously in your leadership role. If this resonates with you, take a look at these five things that may be preventing you from being taken seriously as a leader.
Reason #1: You don’t keep your word and commitments
Anyone, and I mean anyone, will have an issue being respected and trusted if you are not someone who follows through with your commitments and promises. Your word and actions are everything, especially when you under the microscope as a leader. For example, it is a very common phrase to say “We should get together for lunch/dinner sometime!”, and that to never occur. Only for the next interaction you have with that individual to end with the same phrase. To put it simply, unless you intend on fulfilling, do not let a commitment leave your mouth.
Practice what you preach. Words are great, but actions are what define you.
Reason #2: You only care about the numbers
The number one reason an organization fails, is due to the lack of control of company culture and the greatest asset that any company has (its employees). As a leader, you have been given the responsibility of caring for and guiding your employees AND managing the financial results of your department or sector. And while at times it feels as though your performance may only be measured by the numerical results, the employee culture is what in most cases drives those numerical results long-term.
The bottom line….care. Care about your employees, their wellbeing, their aspirations, etc. Get to know them specifically, not just as a number or the title of the role they fulfill. It is difficult to be respected when you don’t feel cared about and respected back. Numbers may come and go, but your culture should stay stable through it all.
Reason #3: You’re inconsistent with your message
Drive results in this department. Okay, but drive results here too. Focus on this. Now focus on that. Yes, long breaks are allowed. No, they are not allowed. Put your cell phone away, but can you get your cell phone out and contact so and so. See where I am going? Consistency in your actions connects directly with Reason #1. Be consistent – in your advocacy, policy, mission, goals, intentions, and in what you do and say. It is hard to respect someone who is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get!
Reason #4: You lack confidence, and it shows.
Maybe you’re a newly appointed leader, maybe this is a new field or department for you, or maybe you are an experienced leader who was humbled by some correction. Lack of confidence shows in everything that you do or say. Know that if you are in a leadership role, you deserve it and need to handle it with care and respect – it is a large responsibility that is not for the weak or light hearted. Have a plan, be willing to be coached continuously and to constantly learn new things. Remain humble. You got this!
Reason #5: You lack boundaries
In most cases, employees that are promoted from within may come across this issue. You may be a leader over those that you were once a peer with, which creates some new questions. Do I still remain friends with them outside of work? Do I allow them to speak to me as they once would as a peer? Do I speak to them as I would when we were peers? And the answer to that is that it depends on the workplace culture, but genuinely, there needs to be a change (a good one). Create boundaries for how you should be spoken to respectfully and addressed as the leader. Realize where being friends outside of work may cause bias towards other employees, and realize that as a leader you now have the responsibility to care about them in ways you maybe didn’t before (such as their growth and performance).
Know that these changes are good, and that they should be communicated respectfully as a new leader and not as a “boss”.