5 Ways to Be A Naturally Visible Leader
“A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, Not so good when people acclaim him, Worst when they despise him. ‘Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you;’ But of a good leader, who talks little, When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, They will all say, ‘we did this ourselves.”
– Lao Tzu
I saw a portion of this quote while in Seattle on one of the rotations that make up the leadership program I am in. It got me thinking, how does a leader remain humble, support their team and make change natural all while still gaining the visibility necessary to be recognized as a growing leader suitable for expanded leadership roles?
Without visibility, other leaders don’t recognize your capacity to drive change but, at a certain point, an individual’s efforts at becoming more visible can be seen as self-promotion. So how can you strike a balance and convey yourself as a natural, visible leader?
1. Don’t demand recognition, inspire it. Never ask to be recognized or try to insert yourself into any type of award position. It looks forced and won’t help you that much in the long run because of the way it appears to other.
2. When your team hits a big milestone, commend them publicly. Don’t report it as your big success, it looks like you are hogging the spotlight and, if you are a good leader, your team will make you visible by commending you in return.
3. Recognize individuals that go out of their way to help you. In the company I work for you can nominate people for small awards for stretching out of their roles to contribute. By recognizing hard workers like these you create a culture of recoginition that benefits everyone and promotes visibilty.
4. When someone doesn’t credit, don’t react in indignation, fix it. Sometimes people just forget to include your role in a project. Assume the best, mention your role discreetly to them and continue to contribute until your role is self-evident.
5. Demonstrate your knowledge by contributing and commenting in any forum. People won’t know who you are or what you have done if you don’t talk about it! When in meetings in forums or even on blogs or in emails, apply the knowledge you have gained and describe your accomplishments in context if relevant. Don’t force this method, but don’t hold back when you can add value.