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Four Ways to Keep your Permission to Lead

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

When you become the leader of an organization, most people will give the benefit of the doubt and follow you at first. Soon, however, they will want to see that you are worth following. Here are some ways to maintain that privilege:

1. Be Honest – Don’t shy away from harsh realities and gloss things over or overstate them for your purposes. People don’t expect that you can/will be 100% transparent at all times, but there is a level of directness and honesty about the current reality that is table stakes, seek it.

2. Seek Understanding and Input – People have a need to be heard so really listen with the intent to understand. There are great tools for this like Active listening, 5 ‘Why’s’, etc but the important intention is for you to listen and try to be a part of the team and the situation, not apart from it.

3. Be Human – Don’t be afraid to show strong feelings, showing restraint and professionalism of course. When you don’t know, don’t be afraid to tell people that you don’t. Trying to project an air of invulnerability or perfection is counterproductive. It isn’t honest and it serves to separate you from the team you aspire to lead.

4. Get dirty – sometimes what is needed most is help with the real work….jump in and don’t be the guy that is too good to pick up a broom or a shovel and do what needs done.

What other qualities do you look for in those you follow or admire? What have you been avoiding?

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