Being yourself is the best thing you can do as a leader, and no one should have to change who they are just to feel like they are a good leader. Sometimes, people are naturally direct, blunt, and strong-willed. They know what they want and what needs to get done.
Of course, bringing out the best in your team also means letting others be themselves in turn. A motivated, talented, and hard-working employee can be mild-mannered, or a younger worker with less experience can need to be nurtured before they become confident and strong-willed.
The simple and straightforward truth of the matter is that everyone is different, and everyone has an inner fire that manifests in different ways. Just because a worker may not be as outwardly passionate as you are doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same level of commitment as you. The goal is to show your employees that your fierceness comes from wanting the best from yourself and others, and to avoid isolating certain workers or preventing them from excelling.
Here are just a few ways that leaders can still maintain their energy and momentum while accommodating others in the workplace:
Don’t be a one-man (or woman) army
For as motivated, dedicated, and self-sufficient as you are, a strong leader must understand that they can’t do everything by themselves. It’s a slippery slope from being a fierce boss in the workplace to suddenly micromanaging your team, which is when all the strengths that you have as a leader end up becoming counterproductive. At the onset of a project or assignments, it’s certainly important to give insight and guidance and set expectations, but you should trust in your workers to get the job done as they move forward.
This process can end up being a balancing act. You may want to check in on their progress, or help them feel comfortable asking questions when they are struggling. To strike this balance, adapting an age-old metaphor helps me visualize how to handle it: strong leaders let their team members fly, but act as a safety net when they fall. In the end, their success is your success.
Understand empathy and how it will help you forge ahead
A strong leader knows that building bridges with others is the way to greater success. As I said earlier, everyone is different, and there’s no getting around that. You’re not going to get much out of getting frustrated at your workers for not approaching tasks in the same way as you. Instead, leaders should make the effort to know and understand how each other their employees approach their work.
A truly fierce leader is not stubborn, is always looking at the best ways to get things done and get them done well. A mindful attitude and a willingness to let others be themselves can provide opportunities for a leader to grow and become even more capable than they were before.
Find security in flexibility
You don’t have to change who you are to be a good leader. But, you do have to be adaptable. Following the point I made in the previous section, there will be scenarios where your way of doing things simply isn’t the best way. Like when your employees get stuck and you swoop in the help, leaders should feel equally as comfortable going to their team for help and being receptive of the ideas they can provide. What this fundamentally means is that a fierce leader must be comfortable making themselves vulnerable, open, and transparent with their team.
Ultimately, the takeaway is that being a selfless leader or a self-assured one, being a mindful and supportive leader or a fiery and fierce one… those are all the same thing. It’s a complicated role being a boss or a manager, and it’s stressful too. So for as much as someone might want to keep on trucking, taking the time to slow down and take stock of your workers will prove to be wildly beneficial. Not only will you form better relationships with them, but you’ll improve the quality of their work — and your own as well.