Today’s blogger is Humanergy’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, Tiffany Funk.

If you’re wondering how to distinguish yourself as a leader within your organization, let your independence shine. Instead of working to make sure your thoughts, goals and vision for the future are all completely aligned with your peers or senior staff, forge your own path and stay true to yourself.

Show that you are a leader by sharing your perspective, even if it deviates from the status quo in the organization. However, don’t take an opposing view just for the sake of being different. Think for yourself and articulate your viewpoints candidly and diplomatically.

The worst thing a burgeoning or even a seasoned leader can do is fall down the groupthink rabbit hole. How can you avoid it? Avery Blank notes that “It takes courage to have your own thoughts” and shares five steps you can take to become an independent thinker.

Read. The best way to form your own opinions is to read widely and often, especially authors or subjects that you wouldn’t typically seek out. Becoming educated about a subject is the best way to feel secure in sharing your thoughts with confidence.

Challenge your own views. Others will likely have a different perspective, so prepare by trying to understand their viewpoints or arguments beforehand. It will facilitate a more productive conversation if you can show that you understand why they feel the way they do.

Interact with people with differing views. It doesn’t mean that you have to hold a debate every time you have coffee with them, however, by getting to know people with a variety of viewpoints, you’re sure to relate to them over some topic or interest. It’s also another way to further your understanding of their stance on issues where you disagree.

Travel. Now you have a great reason for using that precious vacation time you’ve been too busy to take. There’s no better way to expand your critical, independent thinking skills and broaden your horizons than by experiencing different people, cultures and ways of life.

Focus on being respected, not liked. That doesn’t mean you should have a flippant attitude about forging positive relationships with coworkers. It does mean that you understand that people may not like you for veering away from the group’s collective perspective, and that’s okay. Most people worth their salt will still respect you for being an individual who stands up for their beliefs, even if nobody else in the room agrees.

It’s doubtful that anyone ever looked back on their career and said that the road to becoming a successful leader was a smooth one. By choosing personal growth over comfort and claiming your independence, you’ll keep your true priorities – and your authentic self – front and center.

How do you overcome the natural urge to keep it copacetic and maintain the status quo? Share your strategy below or send us a message!


Photo by Morgan Sessions from Unsplash