Executive Coaching Articles

10 Ways to Become a
Powerful Leader at Work

Joel has helped me raise my team’s game to a whole new level and I have learned to delegate more effectively. My relationships with peers, direct reports and key decision-makers have improved markedly, making me a more confident leader who recognizes the impact and value I bring to the organization.

Laurie Hanover, Senior Director,Levi Strauss & Company

Where have all the leaders gone? Perhaps some of them are just temporarily invisible.

While Sue, a client of mine, was interviewing an IBM executive recently, she suddenly saw before her the leader she once aspired to become. Meeting this woman was like opening a bottle of champagne. Her passion and enthusiasm were contagious. She was capable, strong, confident and articulate.

Sue thought to herself, “That could be me! That’s the person I had hoped to become. Where did she go? And how can I get her back?”

Sue realized that she needed to make a change. But then she took a wrong turn. Instead of focusing on changing herself, Sue’s first reaction was to change her circumstances. She was determined to join a new company and make a fresh start. She thought that her work environment had caused her to hide her true personal style.

“Not so fast,” I told her. “It’s not about the environment; it’s about who you are. When you started this job, you decided to hide. The end result is that you lost your true self. Now that you know that, you have the power to change. You can’t change the company, but you can change yourself. Let’s focus on acting differently right where you are.”

Sue knew she was able to be herself with her own team, people below her, partners/clients and sometimes even with her boss. Her passive, introspective self came to life when she was around her superiors. When it came to working with the senior executives, she felt she didn’t know enough to contribute.

Even though she often knew as much (if not more) than her superiors, she surrendered her power and confidence to them. She let herself disappear. She was afraid she would say something wrong and be reprimanded so she minimized herself in their presence. She began to recreate her powerful leader self with this ten-point plan.

Do you want to be a great leader?
Are you surrendering your power and confidence instead of letting your light shine in the presence of your company’s leaders? Hire Joel Garfinkle to help you develop a step-by-step plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

  1. Recognize Your Staff If you don’t appreciate your staff, they will leave. The U.S. Department of Labor says that the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they “don’t feel appreciated.” Most people receive very little workplace recognition in a given year so it’s vital that you recognize and reward your employees for their efforts at work.
  2. Stand out and become more visible. This involves the willingness to be seen and to get recognized. You will have to participate and share more of who you are with others. Sometimes, people above you might not appreciate having you be visible. They prefer to have you stay invisible and not be seen and you must not let this affect you.
  3. Be yourself and stand up to the hierarchy. You can’t let hierarchy get in the way of you being yourself. It’s vital that you don’t acquiesce to the system or it will suck you up and eliminate who you are in the process.
  4. See yourself in as great a light as others sometimes project onto you. Often, people will see you in a different and more positive light than you see yourself. Your own self-limiting view can cause a distorted understanding of your sense of power and worth. So, it’s important that you work on your confidence and begin to see yourself in as great a light as others see you.
  5. Speak your mind and tell others what you think. Begin to share what you think and be more assertive. Continue to share without caring what others think or what the repercussions might be. The more you are true to yourself, the easier it is to be more confident in who you are.
  6. Build relationships with senior people. Engage with people above you. As you build relationships with executives, you’ll increase your confidence. Don’t be intimidated by their title or influence. It’s important to see them as equal and to recognize the value and benefit of having them as advocates supporting your career.
  7. Find more opportunities to be yourself. Look at your current projects and responsibilities and see how you can be more of yourself in the work you are currently doing. Also, look at new things you can do (outside your current work). Choose opportunities that allow you to be more you!
  8. Find your edge. You might feel a little anger for letting yourself get so disempowered and withdrawn. Channel this anger and find your edge. Feel the fire in your belly. This fire is the fuel to help you move forward, speak out and speak up. Be willing to challenge where you are and the limits surrounding you. Break out of the box of limitations and be more of your powerful, confident and leader-like self. To live with the fire in the belly is to live with passion and to want something more from your work.
  9. What’s the worst that can happen? Fears about being punished for speaking up are almost always unwarranted. The next time you find yourself holding your tongue around your superiors, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” You’ll discover your concerns are usually not justified.
  10. Finally, be positive and offer solutions. You’ll build your own self-confidence (and earn the confidence of your superiors) if you offer positive solutions to problems.

This is your time to put a stake in the ground and to begin the journey of being a beacon of strength for yourself. You are willing to stand up for yourself. To stand up for your own powerful presence that yearns to be fully realized.