Becoming an extraordinary leader
Everybody is talking about leadership and about our expectations that we have towards our leaders. There is a big lack of good role models which makes it even harder to get an understanding of what good leadership even means. It’s also easier to point the finger at someone else above you in the hierarchy of your organization. Which is why I want to challenge your view on leadership first, before elaborating the qualities of a good leader.
First of all, we all are leaders in some way. That’s why the principles of this article apply to literally everyone, no matter what title is on your business card. What do I mean when I say that we all are leaders? Leadership does not only apply to our business environments, but to all aspects of our lives. I really hope that you are a leader in your life, sometimes you fulfill a leading role in your friendships and relationships, in your family, in your football club and also in your work environment. You may not be the director of a company but within your environment you are responsible for people and important tasks and therefore also have a leading role in your company.
It’s really important to become aware of your leadership roles on a daily basis and to constantly demonstrate the behaviors that you value and expect in other leaders. With this attitude you can start a peaceful change from within your organization. We all are influencing each other, we are social beings and are connected to each other in so many ways. When your thoughts, your talk and your behavior become aligned you create harmony within yourself and in your environment., which subconsciously has an impact on everyone else in your wolf pac.
The following article will help you to build the balance and stability to demonstrate genuine leadership in all aspects of your life.
Honesty, Trust & Transparency
Research shows that honesty is the number one criteria that people value in leaders, at the same time in many employee attitude surveys it’s the criteria that scores the lowest. In the latest report of Edelmans Trust Barometer Expectations for CEO’s, 56% of respondents „have no respect for CEOs that remain silent on important issues.“ This also shows that it’s not only about telling the truth but also about proactively communicating issues in a transparent way.
So what’s the problem about honesty and proactive transparency which is so essential to build up the concept of trust. From my point of view the issue is that very often we don’t admit problems to ourselves. Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves, so how could we ever be honest with someone else. This task is probably an ongoing challenge. It’s confronting and tough but also very liberating and will show incredible results. Create a safe space for yourself and become aware of the stories that you are telling yourself and start to design a picture of what kind of leader you want to be and start being this person. Take baby steps and become ok with falling and feeling uncomfortable when you tell someone that you don’t have an answer yet.
Practice and express gratefulness
Very often we take things for granted. I had a boss who constantly reminded me that „you get paid for doing this.“ Sure we all get paid for doing our jobs but honestly for most of us getting paid, is not enough as a motivation to show up in our full potential everyday. If you want to have an extraordinary team you have to become an extraordinary leader. So instead of reminding people that they get paid for their work, an extraordinary leader would walk around the office and thank everybody to be there and to contribute to the success and the fulfillment of the common vision. The same also applies to your private life, express gratefulness to your family, your partner your friends and even your food. It’s really important though that you not only say and express but also mean it, we all are very sensitive beings we can smell when gratefulness is not coming from the bottom of your heart.
Work on your mindset towards others
In 1968 Robert Rosenthal a Professor of Psychology published his findings of a series of research studies conducted in school. He was observing the relation between the teachers expectations and the students outcomes. Through his intense research he was able to show that a positive expectation of the teacher towards their students led to a better outcome, while low expectations led to a lower outcome. This effect is also called the „pygmalion effect“.What this study shows is that our beliefs about others, influence our behaviors and our abilities to teach or to share knowledge with others which ultimately influences their results. Let’s put this into the context of work. If you are leading a project and you are afraid that members of your team don’t have the right skills to make the project fly, you are already manipulating the results of the project through your beliefs. Whenever you experience any kind of fear, concerns or struggles related to the ability of others, you better take some time and work on your own mindset for the sake of the success of your entire team.
Invite your curious inner child
From the time in school to today we have been conditioned to always have an answer. If we don’t know the answer we learn to feel embarrassed, turn red, freeze and start making something up just to not feel like an idiot. Free yourself from the need to always have an answer to everything. You are a human being and you can’t know everything, it’s simply a mission impossible. Not knowing the answer opens the door to the beginners mind in which you are open to explore different approaches and options. You also don’t have to fight for your opinion you can give everybody the space to come up with the best solution.
Welcome and honor your emotions
Somehow along the way emotions got untrendy or misunderstood and to be professional meant to cut off emotions. I really want to emphasize here that when people cut off from their emotions most of the times they become uncontrollable time bombs. Our emotions are part of our internal communication system that helps us to restore balance. Sometimes we need to set boundaries, sometimes we need to let something go. As inspiring leaders we need to learn to get stable and to feel our emotions, decode the message and act upon the respective message, without harming ourselves or others. That process is called emotional intelligence and is crucial for the successful interaction with ourselves and others. To improve our professional skill set we invest in trainings and conferences, so therefore start also investing in your emotional growth and development.
I hope this article has helped you to increase the awareness of the importance of your daily leadership tasks and you are ready to thrive. Just do it like Micheal Jackson said and start „with the man (or the woman) in the mirror“.
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch!