As leaders, the landscape we navigate is dynamic, demanding, and deserves our attention. Engaging in introspection, rethinking our beliefs, and nurturing basic and complex skills are essential to not only guide our teams but to thrive in today’s complex business world. These six down-to-earth strategies will add a little spark to light up your leadership journey.
Elevate Your Mindset
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny” – Lao Tzu
This quote illuminates the journey of a leader and where it all begins – in the mind. A leader’s mindset and choice of words play a critical role in shaping the culture of our organizations and even determine whether it thrives or falters.
So, what can we do about it? In addition to embracing opportunities and seeing challenges as chances to learn and improve, mindset and general brainpower can be maximized by adopting routines like wearing a consistent uniform or adhering to a morning ritual. Physical activity also releases endorphins that counteract stress, and feeding your body with brain food can lead to sharper decisions. There is also power in quiet time, taking a breather each day, and clearing your thoughts. And please do not forget to laugh until your sides ache or to cry out a river. Laughter and tears are important allies in your leadership journey. A belly laugh releases stress and anxiety, while genuine tears release tension and provide relief.
Craft Observable Systems
The habits and systems that leaders foster and make visible can inspire respect and authenticity. What might this look like? Some leaders use a consistent template for agendas, opening with a quote relevant to the meeting topic, others take handwritten notes to visibly show the capturing of ideas and strategies that are shared by others. Other ideas include leaders who explain how their personal and company values led to a decision or provide a voice to others in the first 10 minutes of a meeting to nurture engagement or share stories about their mentor or someone they are mentoring and the impact it has had. Leaders can set an example by showcasing their habits, routines, systems that contribute to their success, and when others can observe these, it is likely they will emulate them.
Seize the Power of ‘RE’
In a world marked by uncertainty, leaders must be willing to experiment and adapt. In short, it’s all about the ‘RE’ approach. Rewrite things that aren’t working, rearrange your resources, reshape your strategies, and reassess what truly matters, reveal your vulnerabilities, review why you believe what you believe, reexamine an approach that may not be yielding the result you desire. Embrace the power of reimagining and redefine your journey.
Ignite Your Values
Whether you realize it or not, your values are constantly reflected in the way you behave, they shape your choices and underpin every decision you make. When values are not clearly defined you may make choices based on circumstances and social pressures or try to fulfil other people’s expectations instead of your own or even try to be someone else which can be exhausting.
Living a life in line with your core values brings purpose, direction, confidence, and happiness. In many ways living according to your values can make life simpler for you and your teams because when faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself: “Does this action align with my values?” If it does, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Instead of fretting over what’s the best thing do to, you simply let your internal compass guide you.
Connect on a Human Level
A leader’s impact extends beyond the boardroom. Invest time in knowing your team, your community, and the people who shape your environment. Get out there, virtually or in real life and connect with others, ask powerful questions, listen without interrupting, take note on what you hear so you can follow up, know the names of your local shops. By connecting personally, and showing you are a real human being you will empower your teams and enhance productivity. People want to do great work for someone they know truly cares.
Embrace Life’s Curves
Life isn’t a straight road, and neither is leadership. We will encounter learning curves, earning curves, yearning curves, happiness curves, health curves, and we can either be ready to embrace them or resist them. Leaning into a curve should help you maintain balance and stability and lead you to exactly where you need to be next. And like cycling or skiing, leaning out of a curve to counterbalance and gain a bit of control may be needed as well when the curve is a sharp one. Know your values, trust your experience, be open to embracing curves that come and creating the curves you need.
Every intentional action you take today is what moves you toward becoming the leader you’ve always aspired to be. As you embark on your leadership journey, embrace these ideas, embody their essence, and light up your leadership so that you leave an indelible mark on your team, organization, and the world.
Judy Goldberg is the author of the book, Wake Up and Wondershift