-People say I like control and have an authoritarian style. -I am a person who seeks agreement and consensus among those involved. -I do not think of myself as a leader. -I like to work with people; to help them adopt my ideas and train them if required.
Are you beginning to see yourself as a leader? Like it or not, as a business owner you are a leader. Everyone looks up to a business owner. Everything you do, the decisions you make, and the way you present yourself all comes back to your attitude.
Your attitude is made of your beliefs, feelings, values, and disposition. Everyone has a personality and carries a certain attitude, which is the seat of your temperament. Your temperament gives you specific opinions on the way you view the world. It is your “operating system” and forms your personality. Understanding your temperament and personality will help you work with others, compensate for your limitations, and work with your strengths. Struggling to think of yourself as a leader and demeaning your leadership abilities is an attitude in and of itself.
Choosing to sidestep your role as a leader means you will be relegated to follow others. The type of personalities you are working with will determine your direction. This is an abdication of your leadership responsibilities and has no place in a business. Those who work for you will wonder who is in control and find it difficult to be productive. Lack of productivity would frustrate the most conscientious employee left to their own devices; they will eventually leave your employment. If you are seriously looking at owning the business you plan to buy.
The authoritarian leadership style is another attitude that can cause employees to leave a company. Working for this person can be just as difficult. Authoritarians just want you to “do what I tell you to do” and in extreme cases they do not want you to think about it. They say, “Just do it.” You can find this leader often interrupting other s to correct them or show them how things should be done. They hijack learning opportunities and the personal growth of their employees, and worst of all, they rob an employee of job satisfaction. A balanced, mature authoritarian can be a great person to work for because you do not have to guess what is expected of you. They are tough task masters but you will learn a lot from them. If you are an authoritarian, just remember that not everyone has your abilities, experience, and perspective. Working on your communications skills by taking a public speaking course, reading leadership books, or finding a mentor can do a lot to substantially increase the communication aspect of your leadership skills.
Often people abused by an authoritarian will migrate to someone who seeks their opinion. This leader seeks consensus. Employees often feel this is a big improvement over the authoritarian style because it builds their self-confidence. But this type of relationship can lead to a codependence, where each party becomes dependent on the other for his or her identity. This can lead to a toxic relationship where resentments build over a difference in style and personality. The consensus seeker often has a hidden agenda, to seek the approval of others, which can interfere with making those tough but necessary decisions.
You see them in the workplace — people pleasers that talk a lot whether you are interested or not. You can also hear them flip-flop and change their opinion in the middle of a conversation. They struggle to form and hold their own opinions and eventually this leader becomes a drain on the staff, like those who have abdicated their leadership role. Employees yearn for a boss who is confident, opinionated, and predictable.
A true leader answers, “I like to work with people. To help them adopt my ideas and train them if required.” Employees of this leader feel empowered, confident, and respected. Everyone comes to a job wanting to do his or her best. This leader is confident yet unassuming and helps employees tap into their hidden reservoir of knowledge and capabilities. They feel rewarded and appreciated. These leader disarm others by their friendly and personable style. A business guided by such a leader will flourish and grow whether he or she is there to oversee it 24 hours a day or not.
I like what former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is reported Mohave said: “Telling people you are a leader does not make you a leader. Leaders go quietly about their work.”
It takes a strong personality and courage to make the transition to true leader. The good news is that leadership can be learned if old attitudes and bad habits are broken. The rewards are worth the price. Take a good look in the mirror and make a list of attitudes and habits that you need to change. Then work at them one at a time, one day at a time. Eventually, you will find that you and others are thinking of you as a leader and enjoying the fruits of your hard work.