Earning Your Stripes

Being a leader may sound glamorous, but the reality is it is a lot of work. While a leader’s prior performance is an indication of their capability, having new constituents means that they need to prove themselves again.  The leader needs to work hard to earn the trust and respect of their people.

While one can say, "I’ve done all the work and made it ... why do I need to prove myself again?", it is necessary because it is a new relationship and therefore they need to get to know one another. In many respects, it resets you, motivating you to work hard again to demonstrate that you deserve to lead them and help them achieve things that they otherwise cannot achieve themselves.

Here are some of the ways to earn your stripes:

  • Seek to understand your people – set up up one-on-one meeting opportunities and coffee corners to engage your people
  • Listen first – listen to your people and let them know that you care about them
  • Lead by example – do not ask others to do what you won’t do. Lead them through the journey and bring your people along
  • Recognize and reward – celebrate success and recognize your people for the work that they do; let them know you care
  • Work among them – get involved and go to their workspaces. Engage them and get to know them.
  • Always be there for them – when things are not going well, don’t leave your people and always be there for them.

The prestige of leadership comes with hard work. If you’re willing to do the work, you can connect with many people and expand your reach. Don’t underestimate the power of connecting and getting to know your constituents.  Work hard and earn your stripes. When you do it right, you’ll feel good about your impact to your people.

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