I have blogged a lot in the past about heart centered and authentic leadership - terms that continue to dominate almost every publication on the topic of leadership.
The thing that is important about these terms is that they relate to a style of leadership - be it of the self or of others - that is sustainable for you over the long term and that will indeed change, and grow as you yourself change and grow.
The ability to sustain any role in life, but especially a leadership one, hinges on our ability to embody that role with our whole selves so that it is a congruent reflection of our heads AND our hearts.
And because everything you reflect as a leader begins with a reflection of you, it is imperative that we lead ourselves in a way that reflects our own self worth, integrity, and vision.
So often I hear leaders frustrations around their teams performance, engagement, and communication, and the question I always pose when discussing these frustrations is around the qualities that those leaders are reflecting to their teams that are triggering these behaviours.
Sustainable leadership is about giving yourself the freedom to lead in a way that is authentic to you, leading by an example that is congruent with who you are, and equally as importantly, allowing those you lead the space to act authentically in return.
Sustainable, heart led leadership is all about 'doing as I do' - it is leading by an example that you are proud of and that gels with both your moral compass and self worth.
True leadership that is both inspirational and sustainable is based on modelling the traits and behaviours you wish to see from those around you by:
1. Embodying your brilliant obsession: Living, and breathing your unique 'why' is intrinsically linked to your ability to inspire others to follow you in achieving your desired future - both professionally and personally.
2. Own your decisions, actions and their outcomes: Hold yourself accountable for all that you reflect to the outer world. Every situation presents an opportunity for us to react with the best version of ourselves and thus provide those around us with the same opportunity.
3. Practice self awareness: Make self reflection a regular part of your life practice in order to really understand your underlying beliefs, behaviours and habits. Identify which are your strengths, which present the most challenges and which sabotage your brilliant obsession. Self awareness provides the necessary clarity of purpose that allows us to strip back all the things we 'should' do and allows us to focus on what we 'need' to do in order to live the life we desire.
4. Nurture your Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Emotional intelligence is a key part of self awareness and a crucial component of all your outward facing interactions. The ability to manage and regulate your emotions has a direct impact on your self-confidence enabling you to communicate with greater conviction and form stronger, more fulfilling relationships.
5. Prioritise self care: Physical, emotional and spiritual fitness impacts every emotion, thought, and action you take and therefore the outcomes you achieve. The saying 'you only get out what you put in' is most relevant when we talk about our selves. What you put in your body directly affects your brain chemistry and energy, which in turn determines your ability to reflect the best version of yourself.
6. Create your unique roadmap for success: In order to drive your brilliant obsession forward you need to establish your own personal roadmap for success. Unique is the key word here - the goals, systems and habits needed for your success will be different to those that I or anyone else might respond to. Spend time reflecting on what success looks like for you and build out from there using systems and habits that not only support the way you work the best but that also help push you out of your comfort zone and propel you towards achieving your brilliant obsession.
7. Take action: Ask yourself 'if not now, then when'? When will it be the RIGHT moment? There actually never is, the moment is now to take the first step towards your future. Focus your action around completing those steps that move you closer to your goals. Analyse what you spend time on and be ruthless, if those activities are not drawing on the best of you, or supporting your brilliant obsession delegate them, or remove them altogether.
Remember, leadership - of one, or many, towards your personal or professional goals - begins with YOU and how you choose to reflect your inner self outwardly in the pursuit of those goals.
Each of us is born with an innate ability to shine, all that is needed is to simply be ourselves and follow our paths with courage and conviction.
Deidre Dattoli is an author, keynote speaker and mentor assisting individuals and leadership teams to unleash their inner brilliance in order to live their best personal and professional lives.
To your success.