Leadership Qualities

To Become a Leader Stop Schmoozing Others and Focus on Yourself

Getting into the leadership cadre is really about developing leadership skills: When your colleagues view you as a leader, rest assured the C-suite will come and find you.
To Become a Leader Stop Schmoozing Others and Focus on Yourself
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CEO of Angela Kambouris Consultancy
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

First impressions endure. Therefore, be cognizant of the impression you give off. People will be more likely to like, trust and get to know you if you start on the right foot.

When people first meet, your brain conducts a trans-derivational search looking for proof that ignores everything that goes against your initial thoughts. If your appearance appears sloppy, people will look for sloppiness in your communication and your work. People want to be right and look for proof of their first initial impression of you.

Reality is that personal and professional impressions matter. Consciously or not, most people still judge others by their perceived contributions. Anyone can chat up their boss and try to ingratiate themselves. Malcolm Gladwell in his best seller Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking reinforces the belief that people formulate opinions in the first several seconds of interacting with someone.

To win the battle against other people's confirmation bias, follow these 10 strategies to ensure you make a good impression that works wonders on your professional profile.

Under-promise, over-deliver.

It is always better to surprise your manager by delivering something earlier than expected than to make a promise you can’t keep. Negotiate realistic deadlines and then invest in completing the task in the shortest amount of time possible. Gaining a reputation for handing things in early fosters a generosity of spirit for when you do require more time due to circumstances beyond your control.

Understand the business vision.

To ensure long-term success, understand the long-term vision of the business from day one. Do your research, ask questions of fellow team members about the vision, mission and values. Explore key performance indicators to ensure that your day-to-day work aligns well.

Related: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Company's Vision

Take responsibility for mistakes.

To err is human; to own up to a mistake in business is professional etiquette. The best course of action is to accept the mistake, apologize for the inconvenience and take steps to correct the mistake. Rather than drowning in misery and self-punishment, offer possible solutions as a preventative measure.

As American media entrepreneur Robert Sillerman says, it is only a fool who doesn’t take responsibility. Instead of blaming someone else, you should realize everything is your responsibility, and you will take active steps to improve to make sure that mistake never happens again.

Be calm within the storm.

Crises happen at work: How you present and manage your state has an impact on your team. When a crisis occurs, the person who springs into action and contributes to the solution has an impactful presence. A business is always watching for someone who is reliable, calm and committed.

Focus on what you can give.

Starting in a new culture, in a new workplace, can often make you feel like a fish out of water. When you step into your manager’s shoes, keep asking yourself, “How can l help them get up to speed faster?” Building a strong rapport from day one will do you favors in the long term.

Adjust your style.

Most people can see through a person who excessively boasts or kisses up quickly. Most people are eager to make good impressions, yet many lack empathy towards a supervisor transitioning into a new role. Get a sense of how your new manager prefers to be communicated with early on. Adjust your style accordingly. Knowing this information will help you avoid misunderstandings.

Related: Research Shows That Your First-Time Managers Aren't Ready to Lead. Now, What?

Leave the schmoozing behind.

Rather than schmoozing, identify what your boss cares about and help create early wins in those areas. Avoid bombarding your boss with challenging problems and long-held complaints. Instead take a chance to set yourself apart and come armed with suggestions, opportunities to bring solutions to the table and offers to take something off their plate.

Adding value to the business consistently will cement your position as an invaluable part of the team. As Brian Tracy explains, one way to increase value is by simplifying a method. Look at how Apple transformed the entire world of computers by making them easy to use for the nontechnical person.

The person who is the most flexible wins.

People often associate their job description as the “be all” of what they should be delivering or not. Job descriptions should be viewed as a list of minimum requirements rather than a final word on your daily activities. Viewing requests beyond the words on paper provides opportunities to expand your thinking, stretch your unfamiliar zones and embrace behavioral flexibility.

Being known for being reliable and adaptable are certain desirable qualities that a business will capitalize on. Let’s even take it a little further, if you are game. Volunteering for projects outside of your team, or even outside of your business, can place you in a position of being an crucial part of the business.

Never stop learning.

Investing in your own development demonstrates a level of commitment to your line of work, enhances your professional standing, and gives your resume a real boost. Keep up with industry standards and look for opportunities to challenge the status quo. Rocking the boat in terms of our thinking is an opportunity to take the lead in the marketplace.

Be your office’s least dramatic person.

Egos can run rife in business, and you can often see where the workplace is infested with emotional waste. Workplaces deal with hurt feelings, misinterpretation or speculation; they deal with hearsay or gossip, handling defensiveness or resistance to feedback; they deal with toxic people who vent or complain. The list goes on.

Related: To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People

One of the tricks to bypassing the ego is to empower the part of the brain that is capable of self-reflection and decision-making. Start by asking quality questions: “What do you know for sure? What could you do right now to help? How could we make this work?” Quality questions can help you to see more clearly and transform negative energy into self-reflection, leading to greater self-awareness and positive change.

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