To be a leader in today’s lightning fast world of innovation, creativity, cutting edge technology and rapid growth you need to be a different kind of person than what was required a decade ago.
You can’t afford to sit back and wait. But the push-push-push mentality does not work either. So who do you be? How do you lead while keeping your head level, your eyes forward, people following AND your emotions in check?
Yep. So…What the heck does THAT mean?
Be Curious – Do your best to ask questions about why something is the way it is? Why someone thinks what they do? What if the situation looked different? Who do you need to be to get the results you want?
So often when we step into a leadership role, we think we are supposed to know everything…all the time. There is part of us that knows this is not true, but generally speaking co-workers, employees and clients start to look to you for answers. And there is a part of our brain that hops in and thinks we are supposed to HAVE all the answers. The truth is, when we REALLY step into leadership, we need to be asking more questions than answering them.
This does a couple of things…it allows others to have ownership over ideas and projects. Heck…they thought of the ideas so there is a better chance that they will believe the ideas and get behind the project 100%. It also allows you to loosen up and continue learning.
Curious Leadership is about knowing when to keep asking questions and when a decision needs to be made and actions need to be taken. It is about being genuinely interested in the individuals of your team. It is about superior problem-solving skills because you were able to look at situations from a new point of view.
Stay Connected – To be connected means that you have a large network of people, ideas and places. And it also means that you know yourself. To be connected both externally and internally.
In order to lead others, you must know yourself. By knowing yourself, your strengths and your shadows, your unstoppability and your yet-to-be unleashed potential, you are able to differentiate when something feels “off” and you need to change direction versus when there is actually someone or some thing holding up progress. You are able to know when your own biases may be playing a role in a stagnant project or interpersonal communication issue or when there is an external, tangible issue to be recognized.
You must also be connected to the issues of your team, of your clients or customers and of your products and services. If you are connected to a large network of people, places and ideas you will have more resources for problem-solving, for understanding all facets of the issues and being able to reach a solution quicker, with less down-time on progress and a more engaged team.
Connected Leadership means knowing yourself, your team and your products and services inside and out.
Stay Confident – Remaining confident seems like one of the more obvious traits of a leader and yet the hardest to master. Being Confident simply means to be assertive, resourceful and decisive.
Your team and your customers look to you in order to get a sense of the environment – is it a stressful time? is everything under control? are people feeling free to express themselves? And when eyes start looking in your direction for guidance, you often have a little voice that starts up with “Who are YOU to make these decisions?”, “What do YOU know about these problems?”, or “What if someone finds out I really DON’T know the answer?” It’s not a great voice but it’s one that comes alive when we feel pressures and responsibilities of leading others.
Confident Leadership means that you know you can find the answer, even if you don’t know the answer. After all, you have a large connected group of people, places and ideas. It means that you have a vision and even when you hit the road blocks, you will find your way to keep going. You can ask questions. You can look at the block from a new perspective. Confident Leadership means that you do not burden yourself with being right all the time. You know you will find the resources because you believe in your vision and you know your team.