Leaders Are Human Too

You just got promoted.

You are now a manager, a director or even a vice president. Congratulations!

It might be because of your technical expertise. Perhaps it was the special competencies or knowledge you’ve gained along the way, or simply the skills you’ve developed that others do not possess.

Nevertheless, you passed the interviews from a panel of managers and leaders you respect and admire. You were extended the offer to be in a leadership position for the first time. You accepted.

You are now a designated leader. So go lead!

Leadership Is Not So Easy

Too often organizations promote people to leadership positions without having any chance to demonstrate leadership skills. Do you have the ability to lead or guide other individuals, teams or an organization to achieve a common vision and purpose? Do you command respect by the trust and ownership you give to others?

Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 State of Leadership Development Study indicated “51 percent of organizations said their leadership is not at all ready, or only somewhat ready, to lead their organizations today.”

Leadership is all about inspiring others and exemplifying the very behaviors you want the people you lead to demonstrate towards other employees.

Leaders are human beings and they need to know how to give employee recognition just like everyone else. It is not an automatic skillset. Recognition giving must be learned and practiced in order to get better at doing it.

How many times have I heard managers tell me that they felt ill equipped to give recognition to their employees because they never received positive recognition from their own leaders. They didn’t know how to do it. And they received no example or coaching from their immediate leader.

No wonder employees are so frequently feeling unappreciated and unvalued for their great contributions on the job.

The ASTRA Effect

John C. Maxwell, in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, says, “If you can become the leader you ought to be on the inside, you will be able to become the person you want on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens, you’ll be able to tackle anything in this world.”

I have seen that leaders need to have a healthy view of their own self-worth and identity before ever being able to acknowledge other people’s worth and contributions. Since I love stars as the symbol for recognition, I use the Latin word for star to form a special acronym.

ASTRA, the Latin word for star, for me says Appreciate Self to Recognize Another. This supports Maxwell’s advice on becoming the leader you need to be on the inside first, in order to get other people to follow you. You can never fully appreciate or recognize another individual if you cannot first accept your own strengths and value and the contributions you make in life.

Leader driven recognition is a powerful influencer of managers and employees.

Take the time to learn leadership knowledge and apply leadership skills.

And remember to recognize your leaders and to thank them for how they have made a difference in your life too.

It is time for us to lead out as strong recognizers of the people we work with.

Question: How have the examples of your leaders influenced you to be a better recognizer of others?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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