We all have the capability to be good leaders. We already influence others by the examples we constantly set, good and bad, through our actions and our words or by the lack of them.
In the long term we cannot change what others choose to call us. All we can influence are the words and actions we choose to take. Leadership therefore comes from within.
Most people do not face great opportunities to demonstrate their leadership – they simply show it through their everyday actions. Being a leader is an ongoing process.
If we believe that leadership encompasses the everyday things we say and do, then leadership is about who I am as much as what I do. Being a leader is not an act to be ‘turned on’ in specific instances – it is a way of living and behaving.
A leader’s greatest power is their personal enduring vision and their values. Leadership techniques simply amplify vision and values but cannot be a substitute for a lack of them.
What can you do?
Courageousness starts with self leadership. Self leadership is an ongoing personal journey with successes and failures, learning and adapting to new situations. Here are some key starting points to get you pointed in the right direction.
Understand your own personal values and the values that influence you;
- What is important and not important to you? What is ‘right’ for you?
- Do you recognise different perspectives in different situations and from different audiences? If so, what are they? If not, why not?
- Can you articulate some of the common values of the important groups in your life e.g. your family, work group, organisation? What behaviour is supportive (and not supportive) of those values?
- Communicate collegially - approach others in a positive manner, seek to treat them ethically, be supportive and encouraging
- Listen actively with empathy - understand what the other person is feeling in that person’s context
- Ask relevant open-ended questions - understanding comes with two way communication
- Relate to others with respect - focus on working with the other person to create a joint understanding, both of you being accountable for achieving that goal
- Share your values - so that others can understand your perspective and the basis of your decisions and behaviour and that you can learn and develop your courageous behaviour through the feedback of others
- When confronted with another’s behaviour you find unacceptable, state the behaviour the other person demonstrated and name your emotional reaction to it
- Give continual feedback, encouragement and support
- Set an example for others by behaving in a way that is based on what is right and not what is best for you in the immediate situation
Practice being courageous;
- Being courageous is a competency, the more you practice the easier it becomes to do
- Start just outside your comfort zone, taking little steps
Good luck and keep in touch.