When we think of leaders, we often picture the people who are directly above us, the ones who have an impact on our lives. But being in a leadership position doesn't automatically make someone a leader. Instead, true leaders are those who inspire us to be our best selves, who push us to exceed our own expectations, and who motivate us to take action toward a shared vision.
Over the course of my long career, I've had the privilege of working with many inspirational leaders, each unique and amazing in their own way. But despite their differences, these leaders all share certain qualities that make them successful. Here are some of the key ingredients for successful leadership:
Authenticity is about understanding and acting in accordance with your true self. It's not about being a better person; rather, it's about being a more real one. Inspirational leaders aren't looking at self-improvement or self-leadership as simply a method to become "more" or "better." They are fully aware that who they are is enough, and authenticity simply comes from a place of letting their true selves shine through in all environments. They exude the kind of confidence that comes from being completely at ease with themselves, which in turn allows them to be open to and accepting of others.
Inspiring leaders always stand behind their promises and actions. Because their worldview is based on being authentic to themselves and honouring their own truth, dealing with honesty and integrity is second nature to them - anything less than that would create the kind of internal dissonance that would be counter to their very core.
Inspirational leaders do not deal in the realm of the mundane and ordinary. Their ability to think laterally enables them to move beyond the boundaries of what has always been, past what is possible, and into the territory of the as-yet-unimagined. Then this magic truly comes to life when they share these ideas, enlist the help they need, and inspire others to help them solve problems and create solutions.
Another key ingredient for successful leadership is empathy. Great leaders have the ability to connect with others on a deep level, understanding their struggles, fears, and desires. They are able to put themselves in someone else's shoes and see the world through their eyes. This allows them to communicate more effectively, to inspire and motivate others, and to create a sense of belonging within their team or organisation. One part of this effective communication is the skill of listening. Listening builds rapport between you and those who you can directly impact. It also allows the people around you to feel seen as well as heard, fostering a positive climate and allowing them to reveal important information that can help decision making further down the line. If you are looking for a great place to start, think about taking a backseat in the conversation allowing you to listen more and talk less. This may feel counterintuitive at first but trust me that the best leaders are the best listeners.
Empathetic leaders are also able to build trust and respect. By showing that they care about their team members as individuals, they create a sense of loyalty and commitment. When people feel seen and heard, they are more likely to give their best effort and to be dedicated to the success of the group as a whole.
Self-Mastery and Growth
Finally, successful leaders understand the importance of continual growth and learning. They are always seeking out new knowledge and skills, and they encourage their team members to do the same. They understand that the world is constantly changing, and that the best way to stay ahead is to be adaptable and open to new ideas and perspectives.
Leaders who prioritise learning are also more likely to embrace failure and see it as an opportunity for growth. They understand that mistakes are an inevitable part of the process, and that the key is to learn from them and to keep moving forward. This mindset creates a culture of experimentation and innovation, where team members are encouraged to take risks and to learn from their experiences.
Interestingly enough, each of these attributes seems to stack on top of each other. We need to embody ethical principles that reflect our innermost values. We need to become comfortable with contributing to others, collaborating with them, and communicating effectively, as this will enable us to bring out the best in ourselves and others.
We need to embrace our innovative spirit and allow ourselves to think beyond the status quo. When we do, we can lead the way toward real change, motivating others to join us in creating a better world.
If you are ready to take the next step in your leadership journey, I invite you to sign up for The Power Within program with me. This program is designed to help you embrace your extraordinary and find your unique leadership style. Through a combination of coaching, training, and experiential learning, you will develop the skills and qualities you need to be a successful leader in today's rapidly changing world. So don't wait, sign up today and start your journey to becoming an extraordinary leader.