Last week I told the story of leading an advanced leadership course when one of the participants brought up a very interesting aspect of leadership style.
She said, “Leslie, I often feel conflicted about the fine line between leading my team and not wanting to come across as being too bossy.” She continued by saying, “I know they are looking to me to take charge and direct them on what to do … but I struggle with feeling like I’m being too bossy.”
So what was the solution? Having awareness and making a shift in attitude. I recommended that moving forward, when she starts to feel ‘bossy’ she can simply say, “Whoops!” and stop herself. She can mentally remind herself that, “Hey, I’m transposing my corporate mentality onto my Direct Selling business, and I’m not going to do that anymore.” She was so excited about this!
Through experience, we come to understand the difference between being bossy, which the dictionary defines as being fond of giving people orders or asserting one’s will over another in an arrogant way … and being a leader, which means guiding people in the direction of their dreams from a position of experience and support.
If you’ve recruited a new business partner who doesn’t yet understand that difference, don’t take it personally. Maintain your posture, poise and professional non-attachment, because you, after all, do know better, even though it might not feel that way … at least not yet.
It didn’t feel that way yet for the woman in the class, so I recommended that she do a little journaling and identify some of her really terrific leadership qualities. Was she a good listener? Did she give simple and clear direction? Was she detail-oriented? Did she set a good example through her consistent actions? Did she focus on expanding their dreams?
Once she started to shift her perception from “I’m being bossy” to simply “I’m being the best leader I can be,” the issue faded in importance. It went from a limiting belief to an empowering belief. She took another step in defining her leadership style.
As long as you remain focused on your business partner’s ‘Why,’ and create clarity on what it takes for them to meet their ‘Why,’ and do your best to drive them in that direction, that’s not being bossy … that’s showing your authentic and evolving leadership style.
Leadership is a journey. For most of us, the skills, expertise, confidence and maturity we acquire come from hands-on experience and being mentored.
As you continue to develop a new awareness and appreciation for your leadership style, you will develop the confidence to show up like a leader on your terms … with authenticity, positivity and courage.
You will show up with Authentic Leadership.