Rules for Leadership 2.0.
Praise to one, correct to all.
We can do wonderful things alone, but the world will change through us coming together. As coaches, leaders, parents or simply being a part of this wonderful collective called the human race, we can make powerful change one-to-one, but that impact will deepen and widen when we seize the opportunity to inspire, motivate and create a desire for change in a group setting.
We can only inspire others to the degree we are inspired ourselves.
I have always said that to be the change, you need to live the change, and whether you lead a group of one (yourself) or a team of 100, here are eight action steps that will elevate your connections and deepen your impact in the world.
1. Be present
If this was the only principle you read, I will be happy. To coach, to inspire and to lead, we need to be present. If we have a phone in our hands, are looking at our emails or think we can multitask as we try to manage our team to success, we will always fail. People need to be seen, valued and heard. Technology will never replace the power that comes when we look someone in the eye and give those around us our full and undivided attention. The greatest leaders share the gift of their presence. It is time for us all to reduce our texting, increase our connection and communicate through our heart instead of our fingers.
2. Be kind to yourself
Many people I work with ask me how to create meaningful change within their community or company. The first place we need to strengthen our coaching skills and improve our relationship is the relationship we have with our inner self. Any doubts or unresolved issues will be play out at work or in the world. I invite you to explore how you talk to and work with yourself. Do you praise or criticize? Do you notice your strengths or only focus on your gaps? Do you recognize the areas where you work hard or only notice where you fall short? Check in with how you are showing up daily for yourself because you will never reach your full potential as a change agent if you are constantly breaking yourself down.
3. Be a coach in compassion and an empathy expert
What our world, team or family needs more than ever is empathy, understanding and connection. When we coach through compassion and connect versus divide, we will be a part of the change makers for good. This work begins by always speaking from our heart and keeping our EGO in check. EGO is edging gratitude out, and the moment we forget to show up from a place of gratitude, no matter how difficult a situation is, we will be unable to affect meaningful change. When we keep our ego in check, we are able to elevate the people we are working with and impact the workplace and the world for the better.
4. Be authentic
I know we hear this every day, but to lead and coach well, we need to show up authentically. This will mean learning to say, “I don’t know,” it will mean asking for help, and it will mean recognizing and praising others who may have talents and skills that we do not currently own. Authentic coaching and leadership involves vulnerability and a willingness to admit that we don’t have all the answers. Authentic leadership is not perfect leadership, but it involves more collaboration, brings more joy and will strengthen your relationships. Authentic leadership resides in hope versus fear and optimism versus worry.
5. Be empathetic versus sympathetic
When coaching, leading or inspiring a group, there will be times when things will not be going as planned and the people you are working with may be looking for support. This is a time to empathize versus sympathize. Through empathy, we can hold a space of compassion for the person or group struggling, yet we still have the energy and drive to help them figure a way out to the other side. We are connected yet not attached. If we sympathize, we have jumped into the problem and our personal thoughts and opinions will get in the way. Our ability to be a part of the solution weakens the moment we get in the mix emotionally.
6. Be open
Impactful leaders leave their rights for an opinion at the door. We need to be objective versus opinionated, and what we think really does not matter. When we become personally involved, we bring our baggage with us. When we bring our attention to a wider view of the issue or challenge at hand, we are able to look at all possible solutions without bias or preconceived ideas.
7. Be a part of the solution
As humans, our first instinct is to protect ourselves, and that includes protecting our ego. If a challenge arises, our first notion will probably be to seek out who or what caused the problem in the first place—don’t. Immediately begin to work toward a solution, and bring your group together to help find a fix versus deepening the flaw. Once the challenge has been solved, then work together to make sure that the particular challenge that just occurred can be avoided in the future.
8. Be an active listener
Many times as leaders and coaches, we fall into the trap of fixing versus strengthening. We also tend to come in ready and shored up with our own solutions. To be at our most effective and to create meaningful and lasting change, we need to stop fixing and start listening. Listening is an active sport and one that requires practice and patience. When we listen more attentively and without bringing our own bias to the conversation, we open ourselves up to a two-way communication versus a half-sided conversation. Listen with your eyes and heart because the key to unlocking the solution often resides in the space between the words.
Photography: Bonninstudio, Stocksy; Tom Casey, box24studio.com