Being in a leadership position can be incredibly difficult and often thankless. The adage, “It can be lonely at the top,” is no joke! It can sometimes feel like you cannot please everyone and that there is continuous room for improvement. The struggle can feel endless.
As a leadership coach I have certain guiding principles that I infuse into my clients as the foundational characteristics of effective leadership. I remind them that there are certain practices they need to remember if they are going to be able to continue being effective in their position. Below are some of those guiding principles.
Leadership is a journey not a destination.
Leadership is a lifelong journey toward becoming the best version of yourself. It’s that simple and difficult all at the same time! Personality transplants are not a thing quite yet, so the best you can do is maximize your strengths, manage weaknesses, and mitigate character flaws. God knows, we all have them. If you maintain a growth mindset, always open and curious to growth and learning, you have overcome the first challenge of leadership. This mindset will help you stay the course.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are a prerequisite for any leadership role.
As a leader you need to be keenly aware of how you impact followers. You must be able to self-regulate – the ability to manage your emotions when faced with stressful situations or unforeseen challenges. It’s your job as a leader to adapt to your followers. Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about being aware of your follower’s differences and their different needs and having the ability to adapt to any given situation because of them.
Take care of yourself first.
If you are a leader who does not practice self-care you will not be able to sustain your role and responsibilities. If you do not eat healthy, get enough rest, exercise, and take time to reflect, you will find it challenging to take care of others. Practicing self-care gives you the energy, vitality, and focus you need to sustain all of your responsibilities.
Practice humility and kindness.
Practice these two virtues and you will have a new superpower. Being in a position of leadership is not about having power and control, but instead a fierce responsibility to ensure people feel supported and empowered to do their job effectively. When you practice humility, you recognize you do not have all the answers. When you act with kindness, you listen and learn from those around you and express greater compassion for who they are and what they might be going through.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
As a leader it is your duty to continuously remind and clarify the organizational “WHY,” values, and core processes and procedures. The constant repetition may seem tedious and unnecessary but, I have found in my experience, people often do not listen. They get easily distracted and can easily lose their way. As the leader you need to repeat, repeat, and repeat again the things you know to be true about the success of your business. It is imperative you help your people stay the course and ensure they do not waiver from the long-erm vision.
These are just a few areas of leadership development that I repeat, repeat, and repeat again because I know with certainty that they will contribute not only to your success as a leader but also to your success as a human.