Moving forward: be an office alpha

Behave like a leader and, guess what, you’ll probably get to be a leader. So
how do you behave like an alpha male or female in the nicest way possible?

Be open to new things. When a recent study looked at performance ratings for
US presidents, they discovered that high ratings were closely allied to how open
the president was to new experiences rather than his conscientiousness,
extroversion, stability or even his agreeableness.

Stop avoiding things ­ ‘the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man only

Putting off things you don’t want to do only means that you worry about them
for longer and end up dreading them more. Get rid of them. Make a list, work
your way through it and experience the extraordinary lightness of spirit that
comes with having nothing left to worry about.

Hesitate occasionally. It’s been discovered that in many companies, managers
who occasionally speak hesitantly and are seen to refer to the group are
believed to be better leaders as they have more respect for colleagues and a
better grasp of consensus.

Get networking right. Rather than wondering what they can do for you, focus
on how you can help the people you meet and connect them with others. This is
how you build an empire and become an important factor in people’s lives ­ and
they’ll all owe you a favour.

Get on top of events. Before a difficult occasion ­ asking for a pay rise,
for example ­ list all the things you feel anxious about then decide which ones
you actually have some control over. Do everything you can to make sure these go
as well as possible ­ writing down and rehearsing all the reasons you deserve a
rise, for example ­ rather than worrying about things you have no power over.

Spread the charm around. Smile, make eye-contact and be generous with
complements and praise. People who see others being charming become more so
themselves so you’ll be starting a ‘benign cycle’ ­ the opposite of a vicious
circle ­ with you at the centre.

Women beware! Studies show that when a man expresses anger he’s seen as being
effective and more of an alpha male, while a woman expressing anger is seen as
losing credibility, becoming less of an alpha female. Just one more way life is

Lynn Williams is a career coach and the author of
several books ( )

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