Pinning down exactly what good leadership looks like isn’t always as straightforward as it may first appear. Frequently, discussion turns to topics such as how to organize a team, how to best create goals, and how to develop an effective strategy to meet those goals. All these things are important. No doubt about it. But when we discuss matters such as these, we are not discussing leadership - we’re discussing management.
What valuable Leadership looks like
The keywords when we talk about leadership must be connection, integrity, and vision. To rally a team in pursuit of a common goal requires a leader expresses their vision clearly and connects emotionally to inspire a team into action. The leader builds real connections with each member of their team; achieving trust and mutual respect in the process. However, this doesn’t happen immediately. Like all things in life worth having, it takes time and effort and your full self.
Leadership Development: A Craft
Real leadership begins with the building of trust and a real connection with its individual team members. To do this successfully, the leader must:
How can all this be achieved? Simple - by being authentic.
The Courage to Be Real
Instant connection. The world at our fingertips. These are the promises of the digital age. And these promises fulfilled have served us well in our business and personal lives. However, there has been a cost to this convenience too. We live in an age of, at times, overwhelming cynicism. Of fake news and internet hoaxes. As a result, many of us feel forced to wear a protective mask to protect ourselves from the never-ending onslaught of information that washes over us daily. To overcome this a leader must find the courage to be authentic.
By modeling honesty, the effective leader motivates their team to go that extra mile. In an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect can develop which empowers others to contribute from their own creativity. Honesty and openness pave the way for connected communication between all team members. It encourages an environment where each individual feels valued and safe to express their own opinion.
In order to develop your leadership skills, follow these 3 steps:
1. Foster a Deep Sense of Self
Before they can lead others, the leader must dig down deep into their own stories to access their truest self. Coming to terms with our personal history, understanding it, seeing the beauty of it strengthens us. It gives us firm ground to stand on and have real, open, vulnerable conversations with others.
Working through all this isn’t easy as it requires us to dive deep, reflect sincerely, and own it all. Doing this creates clarity on our strengths and weaknesses. It uncovers our honest motivations and helps us to identify the areas we must improve in.
2. Learn to Forge Real Connection
A crowded convention hall, a board meeting, a private conversation with an employee - each of these different contexts makes their own specific demands on our ability to communicate. However, what remains constant regardless of context is that need for authenticity. When we consistently speak from our truest, centered self we inspire trust in those around us. Speaking directly from the core of our being like this is the basis for all good storytelling. It helps us to form real connections with those we speak with and it is these conversations which are the basis of inspiration and innovation; of change and creativity.
It is real connections and strong bonds such as these that galvanize a team to go that extra mile.
3. Be Open and Honest
Being open and honest requires courage. It isn’t just about the struggle to develop in our abilities, but about owning our flaws - embracing our common humanity in all its glorious imperfections. Taking this brave step emboldens those around us to do likewise, to be seen fully.
It opens up the workplace to the possibilities of honest communication. Opening these free-flowing lines of communication ensures the real issues are addressed as quickly as they arise and Roadblocks are removed for increased performance.
In such an environment, the full potential of each team member is unlocked creating the powerful competitive edge we are looking for.
Be That Leading Light: To create that real connection in this digital age begins with investing time and effort into your own development, understanding yourself and owning your stories.