Firstly, we must ask ourselves what is a leader? What does leadership mean? In the words of Warren Bennis:
Defining leadership is harder than you think. It isn’t titles, pay grades and status in the hierarchy. Each leader has their own personal definition of leadership which influences how they lead that results in the culture and direction of the company and its people. The definition can also change as the leaders themselves change. Leadership is a journey, not a destination and it starts with a highly personal decision. Taking the time to define what a leader is is crucial to building a cohesive culture and developing future leaders. Some do assign it to status and titles, CEO’s, Managing Directors etc. Leadership is having a business acumen, setting a vision or achieving goals for a company. Others are focused on human qualities like empathy, humility and diversity.
With new leaders come new approaches to leadership which impacts the overall culture and employees. A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision. Leaders can work toward making their vision a reality while putting people first. Just being able to motivate people isn’t enough – leaders need to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful. Future leaders will be more diverse which brings a variety of perspectives. Dimensions of centered leadership are: Meaning, Managing Energy, Positive Framing, Connecting and Engaging. Learning to lead whilst being sensitive to various aspects of power, is key.
Take Gareth Southgate as a recent example of great leadership – the England football team’s play in Euro 2020. In my view, Gareth Southgate is a leader who shows up with embodied humility and patience to travel the long term and maintain the crucial connection with his players. The embodiment of teamwork in the final with their perseverance, attitude and pulling together demonstrated the work of a truly humble leader and a highly respected team. It would have been great if Gareth had gone into politics!
I wanted to share the 5 steps to better leadership written by Courtney Lynches ‘Intentional Action: How Leaders Succeed.’
When you fully believe that you can choose to lead your life in a direction that’s meaningful to you, you are on the cusp of greatness. Too many of us move through life as if we are in a trance. We go with the flow because we falsely believe that we have to. Trance mode means towing the line, focusing on what we think we have to do, versus truly understanding what we value and how capable we actually are. I’m not advocating irresponsibility at all. Instead, I am talking about the value of being fully responsible to you first. That puts you in the best position possible to take responsibility for others. Being responsible to yourself first means knowing what you value, what you want, and how you want to contribute. Then, you demonstrate the courage necessary to commit to making your intentions reality. That’s leading your life. Your values are the principles or qualities that are important to you—like fairness, family, humor,freedom, justice, humility, faith, or adventure. Your values are deeply personal, and whether you know it or not, you’ve been developing them your whole life. They’ve been inspired by your family, your religion, or powerful experiences, like the loss of a parent, the birth of a child, or a significant and hard-earned accomplishment. Values also evolve over time—what you valued as a teen may be very different from what you value as an adult. What do you value most right now?
Once you recognize what you value most, take a good long look at how you spend your days. Time is the great equalizer. It’s also the most important, nonrenewable resource we have that contributes to success. We all have the same opportunity to waste or leverage time. Don’t blame anything or anyone for how you use your time. What you do with your time is your life. Whatever you do, do it on purpose. If you plan to relax, do so fully. If you plan to work, roll up your sleeves and get going. The key is to have intent for your days and then act accordingly. Becoming accountable to time is the gateway to full accountability in all areas of your life. The blame bandwagon goes nowhere. While it can be fun and socially acceptable to ride, it only takes you further and further away from your version of success. True leaders seek to take responsibility before they place blame on anyone or anything. Demonstrating accountability also means relentlessly seeking ownership of mistakes, missteps, problems, and any other less than best outcome you are either responsible for or associated with. We’re clearly not hardwired to be accountable when we feel challenged, but there’s no reason why we can’t learn to override our instincts and take intentional, accountable action during the critical moments. We absolutely can. It starts with being able to identify these critical moments when real accountability is needed in your life. And here’s a hint: these moments usually happen when you’re experiencing considerable frustration and things just aren’t going your way.
You are the sum of your decisions. The quality of your life, the strength of your relationships, the stress level you experience, and your career satisfaction are all a result of every choice you’ve made up to this point in life. So how are you doing? Every time we come to a choice point in life we have the opportunity to shape circumstances, versus being at the mercy of them. When you want to do something, get started and keep going until you determine you don’t value the path you thought you did or you reach a barrier that can’t be overcome. The key to lasting success is to not screen yourself out of the running before you even get started. If you think you want to do something, start pursuing it right away. Let’s say you’ve been considering going after a promotion, moving to another city or even adopting a child. Start stepping towards what you envision. By intentionally taking action towards what you want, you’ll learn great insights that clarify your desire to fully follow through on your vision. Or, you’ll gain perspective that allows you to see that your original intention is not in fact what you want after all. Deciding to try is the most important step towards success we can take.
It’s critical to have intentions that are grand. We’re often much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Leading effectively, like all skills, takes time to develop. They are not innate. None of us are born leaders; we’re made into leaders. Acting with intention takes practice. Your self-development begins with developing the courage to lead your life in a direction you want. Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the ability to take action in the face of fear.
Intentional actions taken on behalf of others lead to life’s most joyous moments. To be of value and of service to someone else is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Even if you spend just ten minutes a day doing something for a friend, co-worker, family member or stranger, you’ll find yourself more energized, aware and better off. Service is a counter instinctual behavior; we’re not born with service-based motivations. On the contrary, we’re born pretty selfish. Children and most teenagers don’t wake up thinking,“How can I help Mom today?” Service is even countercultural. Our Western society reinforces total self-focus in the messages that bombard us every day; “Have it your way,” “Look out for number one,” or “Because you’re worth it.” With development, support and context cues, we can shift our focus from self to others, but doing so doesn’t erase the instinct—it’s still there. Yet with the right level of awareness and discipline, it can be managed. When you’re able to demonstrate service to others, you quickly learn that the benefits of living life as a team experience far exceed any of the great results you can achieve on your own.
If you are considering a leadership role or wanting to progress from a senior manager you may have asked yourself the following questions:
What are your blind spots?
How do I move there in my impact, influence and negotiation skills, having difficult conversations?
How do I delegate and let go of control?
How do I make my team accountable?
At Distinctions Executive Coaching, we help clients with their self awareness, self-observation and self-correction of leadership behaviour. Clients can expect improved leadership, teamwork and management, executive impact, influence and performance. We help clients achieve better interpersonal skills and relationships whilst addressing managing change in environments, handling conflict and stress. Finding solutions to specific work related challenges. This of course results in great benefits to organisations; a higher level of commitment from senior management and directors, increased creativity and strategic planning.
We offer a range of types of coaching including: Executive Coaching, CEO Coaching, Integral Coaching, Team Coaching, Career Coaching and The Maintenance Coaching Programme. Joanna can help you identify your strengths and development areas, helping you become the leader you deserve to be. Find out more by contacting: email@example.com
A 48 hour cancellation policy is in place to ensure session times are filled. Reasonable flexibility is always given when rescheduling, but any appointments cancelled within a 48 hour period may incur a cancellation fee.