Today I’m going to share with you the second part of my post on exploring strategies for success in leadership of self and of others. In my last post we saw how important it is to identify your own character traits and beliefs, and work on building your own supercharged identity so that you can begin to lead others or reach that next level. Once you have set out on the journey of defining your own identity, you can confidently move forward, harnessing the power of your personal brand to successfully achieve your goals and lead others- the topic of today’s post.
So, Now What?
A key reason that having a strong identity is so crucial to success is because you can use it for creating visions, inspiring and leading others. In almost every professional environment, as you move up the ranks you will inevitably have more responsibilities and assume more of a leadership role, so its highly likely that those with solid identities and confident leadership skills will move more quickly and with more success in these areas.
When your identity is strong, it will come through in your tone, your body language, your actions, your behaviours, the words you use, and the passion you show. As you consistently display the same ‘personal brand’ at all times, it becomes much easier for others to understand who you are, what you represent and they will naturally gravitate towards you and your decision making ability – because you are creating certainty.
So why is certainty so important? A feeling of certainty is like the brain’s ‘safe place’. If the brain perceives no threat, it will relax. Fight or flight mode is switched off, anxiety is reduced and the brain is free to learn, grow and explore, in it’s own preferred way. By creating an environment of stability and certainty for those around you, you are effectively giving them permission to be themselves. You are allowing others to express their identity, without fear of being judged or challenged unfairly. In an environment such as this, creativity, autonomy and motivation will all flourish very quickly.
How Do I Empower My Team?
So if you’ve made it to this stage and your team is following you, how do you tap into the skills and character traits within that team to accomplish all the things you want to achieve? It’s simple – get to know their individual traits, and show appreciation for what they do. There are lots of excellent books and studies on appreciation in the workplace, and most of you will have heard of there being at least five languages! (I encourage you to learn as much about this topic as you can for leadership, and I will be posting about this topic separately.)
Leaders effectively showing appreciation for their teams, and taking the time to make them feel valued, appreciated and connected, this creates emotional drive and generates buy-in which naturally pushes the entire team forward – perfect for achieving a common goal. In addition to this, as a leader if you can create an environment in which your team feels safe to follow you out of their comfort zones and into more challenging activities, you will very quickly build a successful team which operates at a consistently high level. Stress, in low doses, can actually be good in the professional environment. Good stress or ‘eustress’ pushes people into action, so don’t be afraid to set targets and ask for commitment from your team members. (Get this wrong, however, and you will be perceived as a threat and probably a bully, so as you become more confident and comfortable with what you can handle, take care in controlling the levels of expectation that you have of your team!)
By showing appreciation and giving your people time and attention, you will naturally extinguish any ‘pain’ or fear they are feeling about what they’re doing. It is physically impossible to feel fear when you are feeling appreciated, the two just don’t compute in the brain, so you can see how quickly & easily you can start removing the barriers that may be stopping your team producing their best work.
You Are The Conductor
Leadership is like being a conductor in an orchestra. You could have the best musicians in the world at your disposal, but without correctly communicating the piece of music they are required to play, or the speed, or the dynamics, you wont be maximising the potential of every individual, and will not achieve a truly harmonious sound. It might sound ‘ok’ – but where’s the accomplishment in that? What a waste of talent! Would a conductor be afraid of letting a musician express their talent? No way! So why would you be afraid of letting your team members express their individuality?
Just like the conductor, you will need to set the limits of how loud, how fast, and point to them to confirm when it’s their turn, but you should then trust that individual to carry out the job they were hired for. The conductor doesn’t draw the bow for the violinist, nor should a leader micromanage their people. If a conductor tried to play every instrument himself, or insist on it only ever being his way, the rest of the orchestra would feel undervalued, and rendered effectively useless. The conductor’s sole purpose is to lead; to do this, he needs to be reliable, on time, confident in his gestures and decisions, and to provide certainty and consistency for the other musicians. This will bring out the best in them to achieve the desired sound.
Along the way, a conductor will also provide feedback, indicating where something needs adjusting, and showing appreciation for a job well done. Just like a leader in any business, all he has to do is know what the desired outcome is, provide a stable beat for people to follow, and indicate when they need to slightly adjust what they are doing to keep the harmony going.
The Everlasting Journey
Success, as I said last week, is in the detail. But it’s also a journey which really has no end. As you now know, by refining and shaping a stronger identity, you can achieve so much. Absolutely immense targets can seem so achievable once you understand the power of a strong identity when it comes to leading others. Goals which once seemed out of reach may be firmly in your sights or even insignificant now. That doesn’t mean you are ‘there’ or that the journey is over; far from it. It simply means you have realised the capabilities you have, and have adjusted accordingly. Your identity has acted like a compass and has stopped you from being blown off course; you know who you are, and what you stand for, and can confidently navigate towards any goal you set your mind to.
As you become more adept at reflecting on your own behaviours, and identifying successes and areas for improvement, you will also be able to remove the thought patterns or character traits which are standing in your way, keeping only the ones that empower you and push you towards your goals. Once you can do this for yourself, you’ll find that you can naturally help others to do the same as well, so be prepared to attract a lot of new followers who are all searching for the secrets to your successes!
By continuing to define your identity, and welcoming it as a life-long practice, who knows just how far you will be able to go. I would love to hear about your successes or hurdles with this process, so I welcome you to post underneath or send me a message. Until next time, thanks for reading.