What does it take? Let’s begin with a recognition that EVERYTHING influences, so being mindful that your thinking, your ‘being’ and ‘doing’, greatly impact your leadership. It is an important reflective place to start. Then, with intentional commitment and persistent practice, it is possible to strengthen your ability to influence and make an exponentially more positive difference in your life, the lives of others, your organization, and the world. So, what do effective leaders do?
Lead by Valuing Others – Take an Interest in Your People
Great leaders are intentional to effectively inspire and influence their people by showing authenticity and genuine interest. Inspiration means understanding and connecting with your people. People need to know that their leaders are interested in more than just their output. Great leaders want their people to be at their best and are willing to help them get there. In turn, people will engage and work harder for those who show genuine interest in personal development and building connections with their employees.
Great leaders do not treat employees as dispensable. Unfortunately, there are organizations that constantly have a revolving door with burnout through crazy hours, (unintentionally) causing them to become disillusioned, sometimes taking advantage of their passion for the mission of the organization without appropriate recognition. In these organizations, there is not a long line of others waiting to jump on board, and the norm often evolves into an unhealthy culture of exhaustion, stress, and burnout.
Open yourself up to develop effective relationships, including feedback, allowing more flexibility and trust. This might imply that productivity goes down. The results are quite the opposite. This attitude and awareness of the importance to value others will create a positive team culture and mindset that harness intrinsic motivation. An individual’s core need to achieve unleashes their potential and ability to contribute and connect. Being Intentional with such things will increase your retention rate, increase employee satisfaction, and increase results exponentially.
Lead by Example of Your Expectations: Character and Competency
In his book, Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell stated leadership traits may not be difficult to understand, but they have proven to be challenging for many leaders to master. All leadership is rooted in the leader’s character. Character is the combination of a person’s values, beliefs, and actions. Simply put, the character is walking the walk and talking the talk. Competent leadership means being well qualified or fit for the role with continual learning and growing.
Competence is earned through:
- Experience, which means showing up every day to do what’s required of you
- Growth, which means working to improve yourself intentionally
- Pursue excellence, which means never settling for average
- Exceeding expectations, which means surprising people by going the extra mile
Lead for a Long Time – Consistency with Commitment
At the end of the day, consistency is a must for leading a long time. People depend on leaders to show up to ‘be’, to simply be present. They depend on leaders to ‘do’, to follow through on promises made, deadlines assigned, and standards of excellence. Consistency is achieved daily. It’s not a leadership trait acquired overnight. Consistency combines character and competence into the kind of performance that helps a leader make a long-term impact. Consistency is steadiness, firmness, orderliness, steadfastness, constancy, endurance, and creates loyalty, engagement to get results. Consistency is measured by your leadership behaviors and the example you set.
Yes, the secret to sustaining an effective leadership journey takes a lot of intentional work and constant effort, with an investment of life-long learning and adjustment along the way. Invest in your people. Invest in yourself. Learn more about partnering with the ActionCOACH ExcelEDGE Team to guide your leadership journey to livelihood and longevity.
By Linda Krei