How to be taken seriously as a young business leader

Posted on Posted in 2016 Business Opportunities For You, What's Trending Now


The millennial generation is considered one of the most promising to date when it comes to business ownership.

Spurred on by the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Mason of Groupon and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, more and more young people are starting their own businesses or being promoted into influential positions.

Being a leader can be tough even at the best of times, yet the added pressure that a young leader faces as a result of others equating youth with inexperience can make the experience even harder. Young leaders can take these eight steps and (older) employees, colleagues and business associates may be more likely to take them seriously:


1. Know the industry
Young business leaders should do research and be sure to know their industry inside and out. Read up on the latest trends, connect with experts in the field and become immersed in the appropriate business sector. Figure out the following: Who are the key players and why have they become successful? What emerging technologies could serve as a springboard for the company’s success?

Taking the time to develop an understanding of the industry at hand will show others this leader knows his/her stuff and means business. Knowledge is power. Don’t forget.


2. Lead from the front
One of the most effective ways to demonstrate ability and prove a management role is deserved is to lead by example and work hard. Be the first person in the office in the morning and the last to leave at night. Take on a fair share of the workload and show everyone signs of being a team player. The most effective way to earn respect is to lead from the front and help others succeed.


3. Take advice
While a young business leader may have already demonstrated skills in management, only a fool believes he or she knows it all, particularly when armed with limited experience. People are far more likely to take a manager seriously if he or she listens to and heeds advice.

Listening to people and heeding their advice could significantly boost the leader’s chances of success. What’s more, people will respect this willingness to learn and openness to constructive criticism. Show signs of being a know-it-all, and you’ll risk alienating others and losing credibility as a professional.


4. Show conviction
It’s important for a leader to have conviction in his/her decisions. If the young manager has done his/her homework, then his/her decision may well be the right one, even if it’s challenged by someone with more experience. Young leaders should be aware of their value in brining a fresh perspective to the table. That’s not to say they should avoid taking advice or admitting when a decision was incorrect. Just don’t back down immediately.

A leader with the confidence to put his/her head above the parapet is likely to impress others in the office and earn respect.


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5. Remain calm and collected
Part of being a successful leader is staying cool under pressure. The business world regularly offers up challenging and stressful situations, and a leader’s reaction is judged. Take a step back and a deep breath and put everything in perspective. Members of the team will feel reassured by a collected demeanor, which will in turn develop their trust and confidence in the leader.


6. Manage expectations
Leadership is all about managing expectations. Share with employees what’s expected of them and in return, listen to what they desire in a leader. By opening the lines of communication and being approachable, a leader can build a team with people who understand the direction the department is headed in and the end goals. If this leadership results in positive business outcomes, then respect and support will follow.


7. Consider personal appearance
It may seem trivial, but the way a leader presents himself to the outside world is critical. How the person dresses and carries himself says a lot about his personality. This doesn’t mean always show up to work suited-and-booted but be sure to be dressed appropriately for any situation. Take a look in the mirror each morning and ask, “Does my appearance reflect my desired business persona?”


8. Develop a business persona
Finally, hone the professional personality. A leader needs to figure out how to decide how he/she would like people to perceive him/her and work toward building a personality in line with that. To be considered firm but fair, hard working and meticulous, behave that way.

As Mark Zuckerberg said, “The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’ It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?’” How a young business leader presents himself will influence others’ opinions. The leader is a product of past experiences, failures and successes. Become immersed in the right situations and tailor reactions appropriately to build the business persona desired.



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