Leadership is a form of social influence. An inspired leader has the ability to translate their values into actions and engages a group of people to collectively move in the same direction.
Personally, I think of leadership as a mindset in action, not a title given to you. Expertise alone does not automatically make you a leader in your field or able to build a strong team.
While there are many styles and paths to effective leadership, I find that wholehearted, mindful leadership inspires exceptional work collectively.
Empathy is key to inspired leadership. There are two different types of empathy you might want to strengthen. Affective/emotional empathy is an automatic response and involves subconsciously picking up on and sharing the moods and emotions of the people around you. Cognitive empathy, on the other hand, is the act of considering, understanding, and anticipating the reactions of others by actively imagining yourself in their shoes.
What you need to be an inspired leader is a combo of these three:
- Have a strong sense of self, including your own purpose and values. Articulate them clearly to transform your vision into a common goal.
- Be flexible in your approach because you want input from others, and understand that decisions might have to pivot as the process unfolds.
- Your intuitive nature or EQ allows you to recognize and regulate your own emotions while appropriately responding to the emotions of others, calming them down or building them up when necessary.
- Inspire people to believe in themselves, their strengths, and their worthiness – encourage people to be bold and deliver exceptional work.
- Learn to be a constant source of stillness and reason. Be aware that the overall mood of an organization is dictated by the leader in the room.
- Lead with infectious enthusiasm and master the art of engaging people in a constructive way.
- Cultivate a sense of self worth and strength in the people you lead. Harness authenticity and appreciation.
- Have an open-door policy and give the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship where individual challenges can be met together.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and view obstacles as opportunities for growth and collective problem solving.
- Bring your magic to the table and encourage people to do the same.
- Show up with integrity. Nothing discourages people faster than a leader who embraces half truths and shortcut rational. Take ownership of your own actions as well as those of the people under your leadership.
- Be willing to make the hard judgment calls and assume responsibility for the outcome. Take the fall for the team over placing blame for negative outcome. Keep the focus on you.
- Don’t micromanage! I know it can be hard to delegate tasks you may have once done yourself, but you cannot grow and inspire a team when you delegate a task and then hover over the process.
- Create an atmosphere of trust. Never take the spotlight or compete with your team. Delight in their growth and success.
- Acknowledge every person as a vital component to the collective growth and allow them to translate their values into actions.
- Practice humility. Be willing to relinquish your need be right in order to move forward.
- Embrace your flaws and inconsistencies with a sense of humor. This allows everyone around you to make a mistake with a lighthearted sense of being without getting stuck in stories of blame and shame.
It’s really quite simple: wholeheartedly embodying your own values draws people into your circle. The recognition of our shared humanity inspires exceptional work in all of us.