Be an Active Participant

In a world bombarded by technology-skewed interaction and leadership driven-thinking, what does it take to be an active participant? Invest in these important practices to improve your relationships, encourage those around you and feel the satisfaction of being a quality helper.

Listen Attentively.

When you are speaking to the most important person in the world; you’re captivated. What if you spend most of your conversations in this mode: regular eye contact, full attention and invested conversation? Your relationships would grow and you’d become a more active participant in your own life.

Ask Relevant Questions.

When you listen to what your leader is really saying, you’re going to understand the purpose of what they’re doing and you’re going to want to know more. So much so, that you won’t be able to help yourself. Your hand will be in the air, you’ll be asking questions and you might even be at the edge of your seat with excitement. Great! The leader can see this and it helps bolster their excitement as well.

Allow the Leader to Lead.

Sure you’re probably a great leader. But every leader has their day and let the current leader have theirs. Do what you can to ensure their success. Ask for their direction, support their decisions and help them make the best of the project at hand.

Cheerfully Make the Effort.

I’ve seen students and subordinates complete quality work with a terrible attitude, making sure I knew they didn’t agree with or want to complete the project. And I’ve seen others in the same situation seem like it’s the best job they’ve ever been given, happily complete the project and ask to help with the next seemingly mundane task. Guess what? As the leader, I get it. Not everything that a participant does is going to be fun and exciting, but keeping a cheerful attitude will make the leader like you more, appreciate your effort–and especially your attitude, and builds trust in the relationship. When you hear “attitude is everything,” you’d better believe that it’s true.

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Provide Appropriate & Constructive Feedback.

Many leaders want to know what went well and what could be improved. Be prepared to share both areas with confidence and tact. Praise the successes and tenderly share the opportunities to help build the project and the leader’s skills. Leaders appreciate participants that see the bigger picture and the details.

Share the Credit.

You may have been the hero participant in the success of the project. It doesn’t really matter. Give the leader and the team credit. It will make you feel better and builds teamwork and trust within the group.

Follow-Up with Appreciation.

A thoughtful gesture of appreciation can go a long way in improving someone’s day, especially a new leader. Take the time with a thank-you note (preferred) or an email to share with the leader about your appreciation and specific successes of their leadership. This small, important gesture will make a big difference.

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