We are all leaders in every moment of our lives. Our team is watching, our kids are watching, our significant other, friends, extended family, and people we don’t even know are watching us for guidance on how to navigate this thing called “life”. Leading others can be perceived as a burden and something to avoid, or it can be seen as a wonderful opportunity to let your best shine through so that others may shine as well.
Effective leadership begins with you. To be an effective leader, you must consistently provide an empowering example for others to follow. An example that empowers others to achieve what they are capable of is one that is true, calm, intelligent, fair, inspiring and forward focused. It is proactive rather than reactive, egalitarian in nature, and never fear based. The greatest leaders in history had these very same qualities-qualities that spoke to the hearts and minds of their followers.
A critical aspect of being a powerful and effective leader is internal accountability. When you are internally accountable, you hold yourself to the standards of integrity, openness, team work, truly listening, effective communication, empowering others, learning, growth and implementation. A true leader doesn’t need others to hold them accountable, because they know the power of implementing these qualities on a consistent basis. In fact, an effective leader enjoys holding himself or herself accountable to the very best that is within them. They also find pleasure in helping others to be their very best as well, and they work for approaches to accomplish this transformative feat.
Have you ever been part of a situation in business and/or life where the person who was leading in the moment was irrational, not calm and collected, and did not truly listen to what those involved had to say? Have you had experiences with leaders who were critical, demeaning, and told people what to do and who to be instead of using the power of effective communication to empower those involved to greater heights of awareness and action? Did you feel like listening to this person? Did you have an overwhelming desire to do what they said and to follow their lead? If not, then you have had a powerful example of what not to do as an effective leader.
Developing the skill set-the ability to lead-will have an enormous effect on the success of your businesses. In every single business coaching situation I have ever worked in, we began by enhancing the leadership of the company itself. As the leadership becomes more effective so does the rest of the team. With this, the company will thrive as team members are inspired, positive energy grows, and as people feel heard, recognized, supported, valued, and are encouraged to become their very best.
Truly effective leadership is not about telling people who they should be or what they should do, and it is not about ordering people around like a drill sergeant. Leadership is about helping those around you become leaders in their own right. Rather than creating dependency and fear in others, a true leader mentors others to reach for more, in their own ability to understand situations and people. An effective leader helps people reach their potential, a potential they did not realize they had, and to use their new-found potential to create greater levels of happiness and success.
The very best leaders are those that look upon themselves first for the improvements that can be made. They are not the victims of others or circumstances, and they do not break in the face of challenging situations. Leaders are solution-oriented; rather than seeing problems, they see opportunities for growth and development. They have a “get-to” attitude, are grateful for life and all that it contains, and they do not take people and life for granted.
Powerful and effective leadership, in life and business, is about holding yourself accountable first, to a direction and an outcome. From there, the people around you will have a solid example to follow, and greater success for all will ensue. As a leader, it is wise to be what you want from others first and to treat people as you would want to be treated. This is called integrity.