Three Secrets Of Impactful Leadership
Imagine a world where everyone consistently pays attention to their impact, takes responsibility for it, and chooses a response that is conscientious and appropriate. What difference would this make in your life and the lives of the people you influence? Yes – you are a leader.
As we are leading and impacting others, are we getting the results we want? If yes, do we know what we are doing to get those results so we can keep getting them again and again? And if no, do we know what we are doing that is disempowering others, so we can change our approach to achieve our desired results and empower others in the process?
Let’s think about what it takes to be an impactful leader? Being a leader is not about your title, the power of your position, or how many followers you have. It comes down to three critical steps.
1. Know where you are coming from. Embrace your own preferred leadership style so that you are playing to your strengths
2. Adopt a leadership mindset that positively affects your behaviors, your outcomes, and therefore your impact.
3. Empower your team members to be their best. Combine your style with their preference in order to empower them, achieve your desired results and make a positive impact
After all, isn't that what we're all after? Reaching a common goal while making a positive impact? Let’s look at these three strategies in more detail.
Secret #1 – Know where you are coming from
In order to be the best leader you can be, you need to embrace the leader that you already are. Many people try to fit into what they perceive to be the "ideal" leadership styles instead of using their own talents to their advantage. Doing so can be a great disservice to your team members as well as yourself; by operating outside of your natural abilities, you’re only causing stress and confusion for everyone involved.
For example, you might believe that leaders must always face confrontation headfirst, even if you're a person who tends to avoid confrontational situations, you try to imitate other leaders who do have that quality. The result: unless you’re the world’s best actor, your discomfort comes through in your actions, which certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in your abilities as a leader. In fact, you just come across looking inexperienced and perhaps even untrustworthy. You don't have to be like anyone else! Your tendency to avoid confrontation just means that you fit into a different leadership category than someone who thrives on in-your-face challenges.
No matter your personal skills or character traits, you can mold yourself into a leader whom others will respect and graciously follow.
Secret #2 – Adopt a leadership mindset
As a leader, you are not only influencing others, but impacting them – for better or worse. In his book, The Majesty of Calmness (1898), William George Jordan, American editor and essayist said that we cannot circumvent this responsibility by saying it is unconscious, because “every moment of life [we are] changing…the whole world.” We all have the ability to uplift or dishearten others. But by adopting a leadership mindset, we can ensure that to the best of our ability and intentions, we impacting others in a positive way.
Your impact stems directly from your mindset as a leader, because your mindset affects your behaviors, which then affects your results. So what is your mindset?
The term “mindset” means a mental attitude or inclination. Our attitude determines our behavior, and our behavior produces specific results. If you are getting effective results from those you are leading, you are having a positive impact on them, and therefore yourself. And vice versa.
Are we getting the results or having the impact we want, or are we experiencing unwanted results and outcomes? By looking at the relationship between our mindset, our behavior, and our impact, we can integrate all three components to generate the results we really want.
Your behavior is representative of your mindset. As a leader, you want to maintain a leadership mindset. If your perspective is filled with negativity or limiting beliefs, then you have a mindset that will negatively affect others, and will not give you the results you desire. If your mindset however, is on abundance, strengths and positivity, which are qualities of a leadership mindset, then you will positively influence others and achieve your desired results.
We often engage in behaviors without considering that we have a choice in whether or not to engage in them. If our circumstances are not going the way we desire, we may feel and act like a victim. But if you make different choices about your behavior and change your actions, your results will change. You can stop being a victim of your circumstances.
It is important to note that changing your behavior is not sustainable unless you change your negative mindset to a leadership mindset. A great example of this is what happens when people lose weight. If they just change their behavior – such as eat fewer calories – they lose weight. But if they don’t change their mindset around food, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, they rebound and gain their weight back because they haven’t changed the underlying problem – they haven’t changed the mindset that drives them to overeat.
Changing your behavior without changing your mindset is not sustainable. Changing your mindset, however, creates sustainable behavioral change.
Observe your impact on others, observe your actions as you carry them out, and observe your mindset as it fills your thoughts and shapes your attitudes. When you notice negative, limiting thoughts, make a choice and shift your perspective to an abundant leadership mindset.
Secret #3 – Empower your team members to be their best
Are you ready to have a more positive impact? Would you like to be the one to empower others in your life to be their best?
So what's in it for you, as a leader, to empower your team? Well, for starters, you won't spend nearly as much time checking up on people, putting out fires, or lighting fires under people who are having trouble getting going. You see, when people feel empowered, they will be at their best and get their best results.
When your team is running smoothly and each person feels empowered to do their own tasks, it frees you up to do what you're supposed to be doing – which is to be the best leader you can be.