Workplace Leadership: Challenging Accepted Dynamics

There’s a lot of myths about how to be the best in the workplace.

“To be a great leader, you have to show everyone who’s boss.”

“The only way for your employees to learn is to stop hand-holding.”

“Working longer hours means you’re working harder than everyone else.”


Workplace leadership begins with you, no matter where you fall within the company heirarchy. You can institute a positive attitude, enhance workplace communication, and use organization as a tool to stay ahead of the game.

Often it’s not about being the most dominant, or having a position at the top of the pecking order, it’s about mentoring and guidance. While allowing your employees to work through problems on their own may be conducive to their comprehension of the process, throwing them into the deep end with no resources and no guidance will not cultivate long-term retention of knowledge or overall comprehension of their role.

Instead of being afraid that you’re “hand-holding”, ask questions to gauge comprehension and knowledge of the people you are teaching. Provide the facts that they need in order to achieve the task at hand, and be available to answer inquiries as they move along in the process. Be present.

Define Leadership

One of the greatest opportunities for you to be the jumping-off point for change in your office lies in how you treat others.

One of the most disappointing methods used in the workplace, often mistaken for “leadership”, is pressure through intimidation. This is just a fancy way of saying office bullying. While forcing people to meet deadlines or assist on projects through a show of force and knowledge is usually effective, it is miserable for all of those involved. Asserting power over another employee is the wrong way to go about it, and there’s many alternative methods that are more appealing and that simulateously cultivate team building.

While it is necessary to be persistent in order to meet your deadlines, try not to be demanding and do your best to give others enough time to work. With that approach, no-one is feeling unnecessary pressure. If you think you may be experiencing workplace bullying, subtle or obvious, check out this article for more information on how to identify and combat it.


Burnout prevention starts with you. Work smarter to more effectively minimize overworking.


It is not uncommon to see people who are peers or senior members of your team working long hours and answering work emails late into the night. You know the type- they come in looking exhausted every single morning, are generally grumpy, and never seem to have enough hours in the day to complete all that is on their to-do list. The reality is that many people need a lesson in time management, and you can do your best to combat burn out by  efficiently managing your time. It is inevitable that we will have to put in long hours at some point in our careers, but we do have a say in how we cope. If your work email is linked to your cell phone, commit to only looking at it and responding within a certain time frame outside of normal working hours. For some quick tips on how to cope with too much on your plate, both inside of and outside of the workplace, read this piece on how to get it done.

No matter your role or experience level within your company,  you can play a major role in the institution of change. Challenging accepted work dynamics may seem daunting, but the beginning of new habits begins with you. Be an inspiration!

Do you have any examples of how you’ve been a role model in your workplace? Share your experience with me @sncueto or @MsCareerGirl!

Sarah Cueto

Sarah earned her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis. She is a resident of sunny San Diego, CA, and is currently working in a Sales & Marketing capacity within the biotech industry. She is focused on her blossoming career, developing her identity as a young professional, and is an avid blogger. Sarah writes regularly about her experiences as a twenty-something woman trying to figure it all out, and in the name of twenty-somethings everywhere, on her blog Twenty-Everything.