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How to be a leader in the workplace

By: Kimberly Adair  
April 26th, 2019

Importance of Leadership in the Workplace

In today’s business, leadership in the workplace is more important than ever.  With ever increasing regulations, distractions, and breakdowns in communication, it can unfortunately be easy for people to lose direction or interest.

The Difference between Leaders and Managers

There are many misconceptions about leadership.  One of the most frequent ones is that in order to be a leader, you have to be a manager.  This could not be further from the truth: being a manager and being a leader are entirely different things.  Managers are responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the business or discrete processes, as well as the employees who execute them.  Leaders influence people and gain their trust and respect: people follow leaders because they are inspired by them, not because they are asked to.

How to Show Leadership in the Workplace

Becoming a leader can be as easy as stepping up and doing the right thing.  While no set path to leadership exists, you can show leadership in the workplace in many ways, including the following:

Have a Positive Attitude

It’s easy to be positive when you work around people who are upbeat and positive.  Negativity can spread just as quickly.  Do what you can to keep the negativity from spreading.  Try to change the topic or at the very least, don’t join in the negative conversations.

Complaining about a situation is easy and very common. However, complaining doesn’t provide any value, let alone a solution, and only serves to bring others down.  Instead, offer constructive feedback or work to find alternative solutions to a problem.

Never Stop Learning

Knowledge of your job and the industry that you work in helps build confidence. A great way of learning more about the leasing industry is to prepare for and take the CFLP exam.  Study groups are a great way to keep you motivated and focused on learning.  They can also help you build better relationships with co-workers.

Are there inefficient processes in place?  It’s okay to question how and why we do our daily jobs.  By continuously evaluating our processes, we can improve and become more innovative.  The worst answer for why we do things the way we do is to say, “That’s how we’ve always done it.”

Be a Good Listener and Communicator

The best way to understand a situation is to be a good listener.  Active listening should be employed in both one on one conversations and in group settings.  There are a few key points to being a good listener; don’t interrupt, ask relevant questions, and formulate a thoughtful response.  Good leaders don’t try to dominate the direction of a meeting, but rather help to guide an overall discussion.  They listen thoughtfully to other suggestions and offer feedback.

Know Your Limits

No one knows everything.  It is better to admit when you are unsure or don’t understand something.  In many cases, others may have the same question, but are afraid to ask it.  You will avoid potential misunderstandings by being upfront and gain trust from others by demonstrating humility.

The worst thing that you can do for yourself or for your employer is to work yourself to a breaking point.  Everyone needs time off to recharge, including leaders.  Being fully rested and mentally sharp benefits you and your employer: if you have vacation time don’t be afraid to use it.

Understand that Leadership is Valued

Not every leader is highly visible.  Whether you are the CFO, a longtime employee or a new hire, understand that good leadership will be noticed, valued and recognized in all aspects of a well-run company.


About the Author

Kimberly Adair joined Amur Equipment Finance in October 2010 as a Senior Accountant II. In May 2012, she became the Controller for AmurEF’s Accounting department, then was appointed Vice President of Finance, and currently she is Vice President, Business Intelligence and Internal Controls. Her earlier work included 15 years at a local bank, during which time she held titles such as Vice President, Controller and Vice President, Cashier.


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