Pandemic fatigue has already set in and we have a long winter ahead of us.
We’re straining under the pressure of a crisis that in many ways is out of our control.
We have the ability to renew our strength with reminders of where, as human beings, we find our source of resilience. We must remind ourselves of what we can control.
In her latest book, Marcia Reynolds tells us to coach the person, not the problem.
She reminds us that people don’t need fixing so we must stop trying to do that. I believe that is the most perfect and powerful idea to embrace during these times.
Problem solving is an important part of your day to day responsibilities but in times like this we need more than transactional experiences.
We need transformational ones.
Below I’ve summarized some timeless leadership principles to help remind you of what you’ve always known, to help reconnect you with your core, to help get you out of your head and into your heart.
Whether you have direct reports or not is irrelevant. People are all around you and you can support them.
You are a leader.
What makes a successful leader?
In my experience, successful leaders know who they are. They live their lives according to value-based priorities. They present themselves in any way they prefer because it is their choice, not because they need to imitate others in order to gain their respect.
Successful leaders are aware of the work that needs to be done, why it must be done and what will happen if it remains undone. They also know that both the work, and the solution are peaceful, and that all of us hold within ourselves the power to achieve the results that will benefit us, each other, the planet, and all living things.
I’ve coached many successful leaders across the globe. Here are the 8 compelling qualities I have noticed time and again in leaders who are highly effective, able to adapt quickly, and who inspire their team with their vision.
They balance their life energy
Keeping balance in your life has become a cliché, but it’s still as true as it ever was. You can’t serve the world through your work if other areas of your life are neglected. As each of us is a reflection of the world, we must treat our life force energy as a micro-ecology of the planet. Balance and sustainability within our own lives is crucial to the ability to make lasting and meaningful contributions to humanity.
In addition, great ideas and creativity cannot come from a dry well. If there are parts of our lives in shadow, aspects which we consciously avoid or deny, there will be a corresponding blockage in the free flow of energy within our minds and bodies. This situation may manifest itself as mental fatigue, a lack of creativity, guilt surrounding the perceived neglect of a duty, or other, similar drains on our energy.
Leaders understand that great effort is only possible when nourishment is available in sufficient quantity and quality to restore equilibrium. Successful leaders strive to maintain equilibrium in their business and personal lives, so that they can always draw from a clean and healthy well.
They show gratitude
Leaders show gratitude and humility in their everyday life. Far from making them servile or inferior, these qualities help them better serve their own purposes, life, and humanity.
Gratitude comes from a place of deep humility. It is the realization that “I am blessed to be doing my work and have the peace and space in which to do it.” There is nothing servile about this mindset; instead, it fosters appreciation and a profound sense of peace and serenity. It also allows us to appreciate the unique and thoughtful souls with whom we surround ourselves and with whom we move on a shared path.
They connect what they do with who they are
Leaders realize they cannot dissociate their “business” side from their “human” side.
To say this another way, their core values shine through every business contact and personal decision they make. They appear confident and grounded in both social and business settings, and the differences in their approach are based only on the areas in which they are applied.
In medieval times, tradespeople would often enter into agreements based only on a handshake and a promise. This kind of understanding is only possible when “your name is as good as your bond”.
In today’s business landscape, we recognize excellence and value it precisely because it resonates with integrity and a deep understanding that business is merely the exchange of goods, products and ideas between individuals with a common purpose.
Today’s traditional corporate model has placed many layers and levels between individuals, and we have lost the notion of “standing behind what you do”. In contrast, the sheer volume and intensity of our business relationships can create disconnection between what we do and our expectations of our partners’ values and behaviours.
Developing a reputation for honest representation and excellence, and nurturing it through every interaction with every one of our colleagues, clients and partners is a hallmark of the successful leader’s business model.
They set their sights high
Your hopes and dreams are whispers from your soul that give you insight into the destiny you are meant to pursue. The burst of inspiration and motivation you feel when you think of fulfilling one of your dreams are wonderful intuitive hits, encouraging you to make your dreams into reality.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Michelangelo’s words serve as both reassurance and caution. When we strive to achieve a high ideal and fail, it is perhaps because we have not thought it through, or we have tried to do too much too quickly.
Beware of underachievement or setting the bar too low, he seems to say. Where is the pursuit, the challenge, the joy in that? Successful leaders set their sights high.
They draw on inspiration
Inspiration is the well-spring from which we all draw, and it strikes us at different times and with varying intensity. However, it is always a whisper from our deepest selves, moving us to rethink our actions and methods.
Zig Ziglar is said to have coined the phrase “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.” Another version of that quote is “Whatever the mind can conceive, and you believe, you can achieve.”
Successful leaders respond to those words in this way: “Yes, and there is more to it than that.” A positive attitude will support you in achieving a better outcome than will a negative attitude.
To Henry Ford’s comment “Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you are right,” leaders reply that merely thinking you can achieve something is not enough. A thought is only a seed, not yet even planted in the ground. The next step is action.
They get things done
Now what do you do with these positive thoughts and attitudes? What comes next? Successful leaders have mastered the habit of cultivating positive thoughts so that the wiring of their mind is supporting them in their desire for action and change.
Yet the next pieces are critical. Hard work, discipline, character and integrity are essential qualities in this area. Successful leaders have no fear of any of these elements. Quite the opposite; they embody them naturally and with grace.
We all come to the path from different compass points, and each is valid. When we are less concerned with our starting point, and focus more on the commitment required from each of us, we can embark on the path of enlightened business leadership.
They take action
Ultimately, successful leaders live consciously, responsibly and with emotional intelligence. This is a description of the mindset for a leadership journey.
They are devoted to learning and growing every day. With each “aha!” moment, they renew their ability to talk it, walk it, teach it and be it. They have overcome the need to play the victim, as they understand there is no power in seducing others to buy our limiting beliefs and the self-defeating stories that come from consciously electing to remain “small”.
When you are a successful leader, you are being called to step up. To rise again when you trip and fall. The truth is that some days, you will do better than others. Some days, you will feel stronger, smarter and more present. All you have to do in order to live up to your values is to pledge to always do your best. The quality of your “best” at any given moment doesn’t matter, because the power you wield is embedded in your intention.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; it is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~ Marianne Williamson
Leadership qualities may seem difficult to access during these quickly changing times – but the truth is that these attributes and characteristics are in you and they always have been!
Your leadership is needed more than ever. Your courage is needed, your ability to humbly look within yourself is needed.
As we brace for more months of pandemic protocols coupled with the challenges that can come with the winter season, you may know that you need to do something but you might not be sure what.
I invite you to schedule a call with me so that you can have a little time and space to find a fresh perspective.
Now is the right time for you to embrace the qualities you already have, and to learn the skills to take you to the next level. Here’s to your success!
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