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Business Times Column #64

by Marcus

Would You Follow Your Own Leadership?

We are leading at home, at work and in our community. We lead by example through the act of living our lives. Our team members are watching, our kids are watching, our significant other, friends, extended family, and people we don’t even know are watching us for guidance on how to navigate successfully through work and life.

Effective leadership begins with you. To be an effective, trusted and admired leader, you must consistently provide an empowering example for others to follow. An example that empowers others to achieve what they are capable of is one that is true, calm, intelligent, fair, inspiring and forward focused. It is proactive rather than reactive, egalitarian in nature, and never fear based. The greatest leaders in history had these very same qualities, which is what spoke to the hearts and minds of their followers.

One critical trait of being an effective, trusted and admired leader is self-accountability. When you are self-accountable, you hold yourself to the standards of integrity, openness, team work, truly listening, effective communication, empowering others, learning, growth and implementation. A true leader doesn’t need others to hold them accountable, because they know the power of implementing these qualities on a consistent basis. In fact, an effective, trusted and admired leader enjoys holding himself or herself accountable to the very best that is within them. They also find pleasure in helping others to be their very best as well, and they develop constructive approaches to accomplish this transformative feat.

If you have ever been in a situation where the person in the leadership position was irrational, not calm and composed, didn’t listen, and was verbally abusive or demeaning to those involved, then you understand that leadership is about one’s actions and not their title. In this type of instance, where the “leader” adds to the dysfunction of the situation as opposed to contributing to its improvement, leadership is damaged and destroyed. Team members come to distrust this person and loyalty evaporates. They also lose the willingness to listen to this leader, respect for the person vanishes, and so does their desire to follow their leadership.

Truly effective, trusted and admired leadership is not about ordering people around like a drill sergeant. Leadership is about helping those around you become leaders in their own right. It’s about guiding people to the discovery and utilization of their potential on a consistent basis. Rather than creating dependency and fear in others, a true leader mentors others to reach for more in the pursuit of happiness and success.

The very best leaders are those that look upon themselves first for the improvements that can be made. They do not blame others, they look in the mirror, own what is theirs to fix, do so, and then, work constructively with others to be accountable as well. They are not the victims of others or circumstances, and they do not break in the face of challenging situations.

Effective, trusted and admired leaders are solution-oriented; rather than seeing problems, they see opportunities for growth, development and improvement. They have a “get-to” attitude, are grateful for life and all that it contains, and they do not take people and life for granted. They understand the value of life, time and empowered team members.

Developing the ability to lead has an enormously positive effect on the success of your businesses. As the leadership becomes more effective so does the rest of the team. With this, the company will thrive as team members are inspired, positive energy grows, and as people feel heard, recognized, supported, valued, and are encouraged to become their very best. If, after honest self-appraisal, you believe that you and your business would benefit from some leadership development work then contact a qualified professional to assist you.

Effective, trusted and admired leadership, in life and business, is about holding yourself accountable first, to a direction and an outcome. From there, the people around you will have a solid example to follow, and greater success for all will ensue.

As a leader, it is wise to be what you want from others first and to treat people as you would want to be treated. This is called integrity, and that is the foundation of true leadership.

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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper.

Access the article here.