Think of a time when you just read a great leadership book or attended a fantastic leadership workshop and immediately put into action what you learned.

Isn’t it a great feeling to uncover a solution to a problem or situation and then take action? Yes, it is fun to continuously learn and improve as leaders!

Unfortunately, everyone around you may not be an enthusiastic supporter of your new leadership skills.

These new methods you’re using may be so compelling that some people provide resistance to your approach and push back instead of giving you their full backing. In other words, your manager or peers may still be using an “old school” style of working with people and they don’t support your leadership approach.

Why Do People Not Support Me?

Such a challenge can be disappointing, but not impossible to overcome. While trying to convince those nonbelievers that a better method of leading people is really the best way to go, keep in mind the following barriers that reactive peers and managers often face when confronted with major change:

  • Old School Habits Are Hard to Break: When people have been settled in a reactive environment for a long time, they become firm in their opinions and staid in how they interact with or manage people. In short, they are stuck in their ways, and may not like how you are trying to influence them or are jealous of your leadership success.
  • Apathy Sets In: Reactive people may be content where they are and with the way they’re doing things. They’ve carved out a comfortably numb existence for themselves and do not want to make waves. Averse to change, they avoid new ways of thinking—exactly what you’re trying to achieve—because it just takes too much energy.
  • They Don’t See the Value: Set in their own ways and means, reactive people don’t connect with the principles of proactive leadership. The passion that drives you is not something they can relate to, so they do not see the benefits they might gain.

What to Do

Use your leadership influence and be the example of what you want to create within your organization. Once reactive people see your approach in action, the value will come through to them, and then they will want to be a part of what you are doing as well. Great leadership is contagious!

Once others see that you are getting results, they will want to know how they can do it, too. They may not openly tell you but you are making a difference!

Even Experts Have to Practice

Great leaders make everything look easy. Like highly skilled athletes, they perform their tasks with grace and agility, leaving observers wondering just how they can do so much so effortlessly.

Related:  Closing the Leadership Gap

The secret here is simple but not easy to do: To become such a proficient leader that your hard work is all but invisible, you must practice, practice, and then practice some more. Through repetition of effective leadership skills, new habits will become second nature to you, leaving you the time and energy to develop and use even more new skills and talents.

Refuse to Lose Your Focus

It can be so easy to let yourself become distracted from your goals. With so much going on around you, who could blame you for becoming frustrated, misdirected, and unfocused on the things you need to do?

At times like this when you feel you are on you own, it is vitally important to refuse to lose your focus—in fact, hold on to it with everything you’ve got. It’s counterproductive to let your eyes stray from your target.

Instead, be the driving force. Be the leader by example, showing everyone around you that even if it takes a while, your goals can and will be accomplished. Use the methods that you know will work. Don’t give in to the “unconscious incompetence” of other people who don’t yet understand that they could be doing things so much more effectively.

Rather than being frustrated by those who will not support you in your efforts, stay true to yourself, and stay on course. It takes discipline to stand firmly behind your convictions at all times, but as an effective leader, self-discipline is not something that you will be lacking.

Bottom Line

Great leaders have high standards and strong convictions—but that doesn’t mean they don’t come up against their share of challenges. The key is to:

  • Remain strong
  • Believe in You
  • Lead by Inspiring Others

Keep charging ahead toward your goals, no matter what. Don’t let lack of support from your coworkers—or even your managers—get to you. Just keep your focus and be the driving force that your organization needs to bring it into a new, more successful culture.

How Do You Get Leadership Support?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community and drMaryKay.com. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Online course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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