When I was in grad school, I really dug into the research on how your reputation can impact how people perceive you as a leader.
And I wanted to share one tip based on what I found, as well as what I've observed while working with my leadership development clients.
It's a simple, if not always easy, TWO word solution that will improve your leadership reputation.
Now, this solution may not improve your reputation overnight.
But if you're like most of my clients, you are committed to leadership development. And development is different than a quick "one and done" training.
Development takes time and repeated practice. It's the application of learning -- and it doesn't happen instantly.
If you're still with me, and you're willing to work on your development, here's what I want you to practice.
Now, this word has three parts to it, and each part is important.
to "appreciate" means that you recognize full worth... You don't try to change others. You simply value people for who they are.
to "appreciate" also means that you fully understand a situation or a person. To do this, you will step into their shoes and see the world from their eyes. It's also called "perspective taking" which is a critical skill for leaders to develop.
to "appreciate" is also an active verb, because it implies an increase in value. What this means for your leadership development is to take every opportunity to empower, grow and develop others.
This part is key, because so often, leaders are drawn to their inner circle. (there's a whole school of thought around this in the academic world)
Yes, having an inner circle is valuable...
But often we forget about the folks who are outside the inner circle.
And far too often, our inner circle is composed of the people who are like us, whether by appearance, background, opinion, or approach to the world.
Even if we are polite to the outer circle, there is usually a distance between us and the people outside our circle.
(And sometimes, if we're really honest with ourselves, we're not so polite, especially at those water cooler conversations. Ever heard or made a comment like this "Ugh, can you BELIEVE Tom said that during the meeting? What's wrong with him?!")
Plus, we often forget to appreciate upwards -- we may feel so frustrated with our leadership that we don't take the time to consider the positive impact a leader has on us.
So I want to urge you to take an active approach to appreciating everyone, regardless of rank or relationship to you.
And especially regardless of your impression, perception or opinion of who they are, their attitude or their work product.
As Brene Brown writes in Rising Strong, what if everyone is just doing the best they can?
Now, you might be wondering, what does this have to do with reputation?
Appreciating everyone means that people's interactions with you are not only pleasant, they're uplifting. "Everyone" will walk away feeling empowered, feeling valued, feeling like they are being recognized.
And while it may not be overnight -- this will cause a ripple effect in your organization.
When your name comes up at the water cooler, people will smile and share a comment about the positivity that you bring to the workplace.
It may not be immediate, but if you're persistent with your "appreciate everyone" practice, it will be noticed. I promise.
So with that, take 5 minutes to think about what you plan to do this week to practice your own style of "appreciate everyone".
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