Leadership starts with self
Effective leadership starts with the ability to lead ourself and a fully functional self-leader is well positioned to lead others. Leadership is a personal choice that is either taken on and fully embraced, held lightly and given a gentle nudge or dismissed for others to take hold of.
You have to want it and be comfortable with your own relationship to responsibility. The leadership traits and know how can be learned to compliment your natural style and tweaked where needed along the way. The enthusiasm, energy and commitment required and are within all of us if we take responsibility to nurture the right conditions to bring them forward. A willingness for continuous learning needs to be everpresent and will operate as a driving force from within.
Harness your EQ and your CQ
Sharpening your ability to know yourself and others and understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to put this knowledge into action is essential. To manage your reactions and stay calm in challenging situations. To build strong relationships with a diverse team that bring different perspectives to the table, helping create a shared vision.
Provide credit and recognition to others consistently. Focus on developing and empowering people and showing them your trust. Overall, a high level of emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence is a vital requirement for senior levels.
What got you here won’t get you there
There will be behaviours that may have worked perfectly for you in a past or current role that may need to be left behind in more senior positions. As a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centred Executive Coach I am a big advocate for Marshall’s book-“What got you here won’t get you there” which suggests creating a “ to stop list versus creating a to-do list” when operating in a senior leadership role.
With some small changes, you can create a reputation for yourself as a great leader at any stage of your career. These include asking for feedback and adjusting one or two behaviours can make a big difference. Expressing gratitude to all around you and thanking people for their feedback without reacting. Being a great listener, you don’t always have to have the last word.
Admit when you make mistakes and things go wrong and apologise. Give away all the credit when things go right. And importantly, don’t tell people how smart you are, nobody cares about that.
The 3 R’s be Resilient Resourceful Reflective
Rising through the leadership ranks requires continual transitioning in skills and behaviours and being as inclusive as possible, typically requiring you to move away from the technical tactical day to day towards a higher emphasis on people focus and strategy.
It is not always easy path, it can be lonely at the top and we all have blind spots that we may need to work through, so be sure to keep checking in with yourself and those around you, take time out to reflect and line up the support that you need along the way so you can bounce back and keep moving forward when the going gets tough.