A good leader is a role model for people they lead, motivating them, supporting them and facilitating them. They promote harmony and enable maximum productivity making companies progress towards a shared vision. Organizations often take on the personalities of their leaders.
Leaders are not born but made. You often come across people who seem like natural leaders with their intelligence, drive and outgoing personality which could make them successful. However, good leadership skills can be developed and the first step towards that growth is knowing what avenues you need to grow in. I want to be a role model to the people I lead. This leadership class made me look at leadership with a much different outlook than before. Below I have spelled some key characteristic that aligned with the kind of leader I sought to be.
There is no cookie-cutter leadership style, it’s not about emulating others but developing self-awareness, understanding your authentic self in a leadership role. Being true to ourselves calls us to draw on the very essence of our values, beliefs, principles, morals and that all of these create our ‘guiding compass’ in the job. Authentic leadership holds making the most of our strengths, recognizing and trading off our weaknesses and taking full self-accountability for the impact we have on others. Knowing your authentic selves requires courage and honesty to open up, examining experiences, becoming humane and willing to be vulnerable.
Luckily this is one of my strengths as I am the same person at home as at work, transparent and honest, ready to share and be vulnerable but I need to grow to use this in an even more powerful way. In this paper I reflected on my experiences to understand who I was at my core. I looked back to my managers and support group (friends, family) for different perspectives. One outlook I got was that I am perceived to command respect which often doesn’t work in my favor as a leader especially in times like today where the future work force is millennials. Every individual has egos that need to be stroked, insecurities that need to be smoothed and an as an authentic leader I should be willing to listen to feedback even though it might not be something I want to hear. I should be able to be empathetic to all and understand their view points.
“Leadership is love” an outlook that deeply resonated with me since class. Love is a term often used only towards family and friends which binds you to commitment of selflessness towards them. This act of selfless service is something that I want to extend towards my team.
In my search of perfection, goals and targets I often forget how humans are overwhelmed with the pressures of everyday life. I have recently come to realize from feedback I received, I am considered too aggressive due to my push to meet deadlines and my expectation of high-quality work which also intimidates others. I need to carefully balance my motivations so that they are driven by these inner values of love as much as by a desire for external rewards or recognition. Showing consideration allows your staff to be imperfectly human. Knowing and caring about their personal lives in an authentic and appropriate way, serving them helps empower them and function at a higher performance level.
Passion is the positive contagious energy within you towards something that is deeply and personally meaningful to you: a vision. I want to grow to be a passionate leader, one with enthusiasm and a desire of making a difference, impacting others and bettering lives, one who leads with their hearts as well as their heads.
I am blessed to have this fire within me. I am enthusiastic, passionate, full of life individual and I want to spread this spark to all and be able to share my vision and serve others. I need to grow to learn how to actively involve and engage employees, and work to mobilize organizations in a common direction for a common cause.
A commitment to the well-being of others and to the shared task is also grounded in intimacy – how well you truly know the individual, their goals? “Leadership is a Service” requires intentional acts to help support individuals’ goals. I am a facilitator, I love to see people grow, impart knowledge, thus I want to be committed towards my team. I want to leave my ego behind and serve in whatever way they might need me to, while constantly encouraging them towards the higher purpose or vision and showing them how their work influences the greater whole. And further tie back this spirit to the passion for service to others helping them succeed.
LISTEN! Listening is a powerful tool that can be a foundation of trust, creating connections, an environment of safety, making people feel heard and important. This is what differentiates an average leader from a great one. Making the time to listen to your team members has the potential to increase your leadership capacity exponentially as you gain insights, consider new ideas and receive valuable feedback. This, in turn drives employee engagement and positive business outcomes including innovation, productivity and profitability. I have often caught myself interrupting people because I have a chain of thought going in my head and I am constantly working on becoming a powerful listener such that people feel heard and valued.
The most important key to a successful leader to be able to empower others and to create a universe of possibilities for everyone to grow and become successful leaders themselves. Michelangelo is often quoted as having said “inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue, one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within”. This attitude helps one get away from the measurement mindset to a place of respect that gives people a chance to realize themselves. It lifts you off the success/ failure ladder and spirits you away from the world of measurement into the universe of possibility. This lets individuals make mistakes, learn and grow from them, empowers them to achieve their ultimate potential which in turn helps leaders and companies grow. Thus, I want to help my employee explore their utmost potential even more than I normally did.
Being situated in the bay area and in a world that measures everything on results and outcomes authentic leadership is continuously tested. The stresses of deadlines and instant targets often blur the long-term goals. A truly authentic leader knows what how to be fiercely persistent and doesn’t let the short-term stresses get in the way of long term vision. They align their personal values to develop future leaders and build sustainable successful organizations. I want to inhabit all these characteristics and become a role model that people to emulate and say “SHE is a good leader”
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