“The Invisible Leader,” or Why Should Someone Follow You?
Dmitry Trepolsky gives advice to top managers on effective communication within the work team, gives examples of real situations
Effective leadership is often identified with excellence. How justified is this idea? Perfection should be sacrificed for the main thing – being in the field of vision of the followers and strengthening their leadership authority.
Simple questions sometimes lead to real insights. If you are a leader, then try to answer the question: why in general should someone follow you? And not only in your “stellar” time, but also in everyday life, when you communicate, solve problems, make decisions – that is, when you perform normal management work in such a way that it reflects your inherent leadership style.
This question makes a lot of sense, because, showing your personality traits in the process of interacting with subordinates, bosses and customers, you show that you are the very person you can trust. If sincerity is inherent in you and you are fully committed to the cause, creating a favorable atmosphere for the functioning of those around you, you strengthen the arguments in your favor. And vice versa: if you do not have enough sincerity or you prefer to remain silent at the moment when you need to clearly show your position – trust in you weakens every time you decide to “hide in the bushes.”
In a word, it is impossible to follow those who are not visible. Therefore, staying in sight for the leader is of great importance. This is the main guideline for followers who just evaluate how much it is worth trusting the leader. It should be noted that quite often, conductors exhibit destructive behavior, thus destroying their leadership essence.
The basis of this is a very simple thing – we decide to remain silent when it is not worthwhile to be silent, finding very logical justifications for this (as it may seem). Let’s list the most common of them.
“All of this has already been expressed before me.”
“If the boss is going to express the same opinion as me, then why take the risk ahead of him,” you might think. Or the meeting is nearing completion and you don’t want to delay anyone by engaging in a conversation to repeat again what has already been discussed. Of course, at a basic level, this makes sense. However, deciding to remain silent, you again and again make yourself invisible. Accordingly, your “face value” as a leader is rapidly going down. There are no rules when exactly you need (or it is advisable) to enter into a conversation, but if you have already become a participant in the meeting, then this cannot be a passive sitting at the table. You need to be heard, to be seen, so that you make the most of your opportunities.
It is okay if what you say is perceived to a certain extent as repetition. The main thing is to take part in the conversation. You can confirm the point of view of the boss without going into its territory and without looking at the same time hypocritical.
Rule number 1. If you think that something is worth saying out loud, then by all means do it. Trying to convey a useful thought or some interesting plan – take risks and do not be afraid that your comment may be perceived as something obvious to everyone.
“I could be wrong”
The obvious thing is that people think in different ways, and some determine thoughts faster than others. But still, you cannot force yourself to be silent.
“It may happen that I express the wrong opinion. And if what I say will be perceived as nonsense? This is a very important meeting with the leaders – in any case, I cannot be mistaken. ”
If you process information somewhat slowly and always when trying to formulate your opinion, you try to do it better – these excuses are well-founded. But at the same time, moments slip away from you when you can confirm your own significance. By sacrificing timeliness for excellence, you may miss the chance to influence the course of events.
Conversation is inherent in flexibility. They can perceive our imperfection and (contrary to everything) lead to good results. And all that we say is passed by the interlocutors through the filters of their perception (which are formed on the basis of the individual’s habits, experience and beliefs) and therefore, no matter how hard we try to express our opinion, its interpretation may turn out to be completely different than what you wanted to convey. And given that perfection is unattainable for each of us, the essence of the idea will be much more important than the external gloss.
Rule number 2. Trying to convey something really important, you should take a chance and identify your own imperfection.
“I can give in to emotions”
In many organizations, honest expression of emotions is still very undesirable. But this creates self-censorship, which holds back the spontaneity and passion of thought. “If I talk about difficulties, the words will get stuck in my throat and they will perceive me as insignificance.