Imagine leadership as the internal fuel that powers your management of yourself and others. Imagine leadership as the catalyst that gets you out of bed every morning, commuting into work and fulfilling on the goals, objectives, strategy and tactics all designed to produce the results you desire.
All leaders have had at least one, and usually several defining moments when they are forced to meet themselves at a point of limitation. It is at this point that they are faced with the choice of taking transformative action and swimming, or staying where they are and treading water at best, sinking at worst. These experiences are often the making of them, and the truthful ones attribute their successes to the guidance of a valued coach or mentor.
The repeated, visible lack of regard for the company values rendered them almost useless. Is it any wonder, then, that employees dismiss company values as a lot of hot air with very little substance? This tide is changing, though. People are waking up to the importance of company values.
Some say leaders are born. Some say leaders are made. Some have clearly defined parameters that constitute leadership. Some simply, “know a leader when they see one.” It seems indefinable, because everyone has a different view of what leadership looks like. This is the way it should be, and here’s why. Leadership is a personal, individual expression of who you are. Your expression of your leadership is at its most powerful when your beliefs, thoughts and words align with your stance, actions and strategies with continuous consistency. It’s readily apparent when they don’t.
These elaborate rituals create the desired effect, which is “winning” the prize of a mate and propagating one’s DNA. In that sense, yes, you could say it is effective, influential leadership, and it is fit for purpose. However, will this style of leadership cultivate and build an ongoing community? Is it the right sort of leadership to sustain and foster collaboration and growth?
This may be hugely controversial, but I’m going to say it. Trump may just be the best thing that’s happened to women’s empowerment and leadership. In fact, he’s exactly what women need to transform the narrative and more importantly, the situation in which women frequently find themselves.
If you’re now realising the potential value of investing in and committing to the creation of a D&I strategy that generates real cultural change, you might be wondering where to start. I have a suggestion for you.
So, is it justifiable to pull out all the stops in order to win as a business leader? Is winning the object of the game? Or is it something else?
Is it too early to mention the C word yet? Is it a stretch to tie in a leadership message to accompany a holiday marked with merriment and joy? Well, why not? I think the world could do with a little cheering up, don’t you? Perhaps the people who work for or with you could use the same. Perhaps YOU could do with a spiritual uplift.
Phew! What a whirlwind of a week for the leadership debate it’s been. I’m not here to put forward opinions about the candidates in question. Instead, I want to discuss what recent events, namely Brexit and the US presidential election, may mean for you, especially if the results didn’t turn out quite the way you’d expected. By the way, this sums up the root of the problem - expectation.
Like any skill, communication takes practice, but it also takes confidence. There’s no one way to do it. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you, and vice versa. In fact, I see communication as less of a skill and more of an art form. It’s your signature, an expression of your leadership that grows as you grow.
You may assume it’s your job to make assumptions, but I am going to make the presumption on your behalf that you’re clever enough to get what the act of assuming really means for your leadership and for the people you lead and that you will assume a different leadership approach when you do. Am I being presumptuous?
There’s a lot to be learned from the experience, namely how NOT to build market leadership, but you have to decide what’s more important to you. Money or your reputation. Market perception or business reality. Smoke and mirrors or authenticity. The truth is, not everyone who sets out to create a personal brand does it from a narcissistic, deceptive place. Many people create a personal brand because they know it’s a powerful way for customers to connect with them. They have a certain something that they want to share with people, whether it’s a toolbox of skills or a view on the world that’s unique.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein. This is even true given that those of us in the UK are experiencing a seemingly catastrophic situation like Brexit. We are facing very difficult times ahead. However, we are also being presented with enormous leadership opportunity, as Einstein and any person of great accomplishment will know. It’s the adversity that presents the opportunity. In this case, destruction is making way for creation.
Business can feel like a dog-eat-dog world, and even dogs don’t eat other dogs. Why has bullying in the workplace happened to you? While it can hurt like hell, there are also benefits to be gained if you are willing to explore it with the intention of transforming the experience. Every experience, even the most heinous, can offer you an opportunity for growth and empowerment, qualities that will increase your ability to lead others effectively.
One of the things that we read a lot in blog posts is the notion that leaders have to act in the interests of the wider community. As a leader, is it ever OK to put your needs before the needs of others? The short answer is YES! Absolutely yes. Being a leader does not mean you become a selfless guru who serves the masses and are therefore open and available to all who want your time and energy. Being a leader does require you to put your needs aside for the greater good, but there are times when your needs as a leader must come first. If your cup is depleted, how can you expect to replenish the cups of others?
Now, many people train to be coaches, sold on the fact that it’s easy to make money being a coach and there’s never been a better time to do it. They complete their studies armed with a toolbox full of fantastic processes, boundless enthusiasm and a belief that they can change the world. They’ve got big ideas and high hopes for what they are going to achieve in making the world a better place as a coach. Three, four, sometimes eight years later, they’re still struggling to make ends meet and don’t quite understand why their businesses haven’t taken off in the way they expected. I know. I’ve met them personally. I’ve struggled myself. And there’s a reason for the struggle. It’s all about growth.
It’s a common misconception that fear is an intense feeling. Of course, if you’re walking down a dark, deserted alley alone late at night, it’s likely you’ll feel fear at its most potent, with a racing heart and sweaty palms and all the other physiological symptoms usually associated with fear. What’s not so common is the understanding that any thinking that limits you is based in fear. Your body may not react strongly to your fear-based thoughts. In fact, you may be able to rationalise these thoughts to the extent that they seem the best course of action.
As an aspiring or existing leader, it is imperative that you take an active interest in your own leadership development. It’s tempting to say to yourself, “This is me. This is who I am. Take it or leave it.” You can take that attitude for sure. If that’s what you expect from yourself, then understand that that’s exactly what you’ll get from those you lead.
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