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Push and pull to get others to follow

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Strong leaders muscle their way forward. But strength alone isn’t enough.

You need to know when to push and when to pull to win over followers. Here’s how:

Mix confidence with empathy. If you’re self-assured, you can convince doubters to follow your lead. But with vocal resisters, you’ll need to step into their shoes and understand their perspective.

Stay on schedule, but forgive latecomers. Organized leaders respect others’ time by being punctual. But even if you’re never late, cut some slack for those who are tardy on occasion. Determine why they arrived late before you rush to judgment.

Display pride and humility. But before you get carried away, remember to credit others for their role in your success.

Balance seriousness with humor. Some situations call for disciplined analysis and intellectually rigorous debate. In lighter moments, however, a dose of humor can showcase more endearing parts of your personality.

Plunge ahead—sometimes. Adopt a bias for action and show spontaneity to generate excitement and a sense of limitless possibility. Just don’t overdo it. Know when to wait, observe and weigh all options before you plunge into the unknown.  

Give orders without bossiness. You need to issue orders to mobilize the troops. But too much direction can turn creative collaborators into sheep. Step back periodically and let others decide for themselves what steps they should take.

— Adapted from “Be A More Gracious Leader,” Kevin Daum, www.inc.com.

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