Authentic leadership is born out of a desire to serve by understanding and responding to the needs of others. This level of connectivity is the power engine that pulls the organization to maximize performance and effectiveness. To push the evolutionary edge and set in motion a fresh new reality of influence, sharpen your competencies in the following areas:
Vision and Purpose – Demonstrate a clear sense of purpose and convey passion. Move people with a compelling vision and inspire them to achieve more than they may have ever dreamed possible. Create a culture that empowers and energizes by connecting individual and organizational goals to create alignment, broaden perspectives, launch initiatives and sustain commitment.
Emotional and Social Competence – Emotional competence (self-awareness) is the ability to recognize, interpret and constructively manage your own emotions. It’s having an awareness of your strengths and limitations and taking responsibility for personal performance. Social competence (other-awareness) involves acknowledging and validating the feelings and emotions of others. It’s taking an active interest in others to elicit new ideas, generate fresh perspectives and foster group synergy to pursue and achieve collective goals.
A Global Perspective – A global perspective enables collaboration by improving your ability to reframe situations and make more effective decisions. It provides a realistic view of issues and challenges and heightens your awareness of diverse needs and interests. Cultivating a global perspective involves more than acquiring knowledge and information. It requires deep understanding, which facilitates meaningful connections between your own life and the lives of others.
Mastering Change – Change is inevitable, so to elevate your experiences and turn obstacles into opportunities, focus on possibilities instead of problems. As a change agent, you must educate, empower and engage stakeholders at every level, so that everyone is aware of the destination and understands the reason for taking the journey. Host an open dialogue to help ensure that stakeholders: (1) understand the decision that you are making and why; (2) know how any changes will impact them, which will increase their capacity to deal with that impact; (3) are equipped to communicate changes to customers, clients or business partners; and (4) have an opportunity to share ideas and suggestions for navigating difficult times.
Shared Leadership – The most valuable asset of any organization is the creativity and innovation of its human capital. No one individual can have all the answers, so it’s incumbent upon every organizational member to actively participate in achieving the organization’s vision, mission and goals and building a sense of community. This requires a cultural shift from merely valuing workforce diversity to embracing inclusion so that the talents, skills and experiences of every individual are leveraged to foster a more creative, respectful and productive workforce and workplace.
Continuous Improvement – In a world of fierce competition and fleeting opportunities, inertia feeds obsolescence. An investment in lifelong learning (formal and informal development) is your roadmap to relevance. Strive for value-creating growth that will transform your experiences and distinguish you as a pacesetter. Learn and grow by exposing yourself to new concepts, people and interests through reading, inquiring, listening, networking, experimenting, volunteering and exploring. Seek constructive feedback from others that reveal insights about your talents, potential and developmental needs. After obtaining new knowledge and skills, be intentional about finding ways to apply what you’ve learned.
To expand your influence and strengthen your leadership legacy, evoke the words of educational leader, Horace Mann: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
Until Next Time,