The times they are a changing, and so is the path to better leadership. Long gone are the days of the old school mentality where leadership meant being the boss who barked orders. To succeed now you need to listen, support, and connect with the people on your teams. Instead of giving orders, your role is more of that of a coaching facilitator who supports with resources, ideas, and wisdom born of experience. You have to be inclusive in order to cultivate a culture of innovation. Leadership means showing by example, and being a role model mentor and coach to everyone you lead. Working as an executive coach with senior-level leaders in global organizations, I often find that I have to remind them of the bigger picture. I have to help them with skills like communication and mindset management, so that they are fully equipped to meet the challenges they face in an ever-shifting world. They have to exude these five traits:
It takes perseverance and courage to lead, especially when working through multiple, fast-changing economic challenges. When there are complex competition dynamics and mergers and acquisitions affecting you or your partners, vendors, and clients, failure isn’t an option. Neither is a lack of purposeful clarity. Leaders who persevere with an opportunistic viewpoint and confident decision-making will respond with the performance and productivity needed to succeed in the face of any obstacle.
Before you can persuade someone, you have to earn their trust. To do that you must gain a deep understanding of who they are and what they want. That takes attentive leadership that listens, engages, and gets to know not just projects and benchmarks but the people who make them happen. That’s the key, whether you are leading a team, selling to a customer, or presenting ideas to the decision makers in your own organization. Learning the art and skill of persuasion until it’s in your DNA is invaluable to your leadership.
3) Panoramic Vision
As a leader you have to create your own vision for your team, department, or division. But you also must have the overarching big picture that inspires cooperation and innovative collaboration across the whole organizational grid. That takes constant expansion of your panoramic perspective. Along with that visionary view you have to have pinpoint focus. That way you can avoid distractions and eliminate inefficiencies in order to filter out the noise that clouds your vision.
4) Positive Attitude
You cannot turn on positivity like a light switch, with a smile or a few choice words. The kind of authentic positive mindset that distinguishes the highly capable leader is cultivated from deep within, every day, until it becomes part of your leadership genetics. That requires solution-oriented vision; an expert fluency in positive, influential, and inspiring communication; and a keen understanding of business psychology. No matter how negatively others may view the situation – you can lead and inspire masterfully while raising team morale.
None of that is possible unless you feel a genuine sense of purpose or calling to serve others in a leadership role. Leadership isn’t a job or career; it’s a lifelong passion, drive, and commitment. You don’t do it just for the compensation or to complete the next task. You lead because you derive real meaning and purpose from seeing other people succeed. You have the conviction that you are the right person to lead others where they want to go.
When you embrace these five keys to superior leadership, your teams will respect you, be more engaged and productive, and be inspired to as high-performance collaborators. Plus they will view you as a legacy leader, because you are modeling the characteristics that are the secret to success in their own individual lives and careers.