Great Leaders Never Stop Evolving
the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
The capacity for any family, team, or company to handle change lies squarely on the shoulders of leadership. Leaders define the pace and tone of the group they are leading. And in this age of rapid change and reach for innovation, we need leaders that have the capacity to grow and take the people they are leading with them.
I also believe that we are ALL leaders on some level. If you have younger family members that look up to you, you are a leaders. If you are a Mom or Dad, you are a leader. If you organize your peers to go out for lunch together, you are a leader. Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of power and influence.
The problem today is that we no longer take our ability to influence people seriously enough. We have a "it's all about me" viewpoint that keeps us from embracing the obligations that we have to the people who are watching us.
First we need to acknowledge our need for leaders. Leaders matter. And being a good leader matters a lot to our society.
Effective leadership is essential to a functioning society. If we did not have effective leaders there would be anarchy. Penn State University's Applied Social Psychology Blog
Making our families, communities, and workplaces better REQUIRES leaders that are seriously committed to being effective.
And the effectiveness of a leader is directly correlated to their willingness to grow and evolve.
In order to be effective, I suggest that our leaders must lead with L.E.G.S.
Learn. According to Harvard Business Review, "Good Learners are Good Leaders." But learning is not just about experience:
Still, simply being an experienced leader doesn’t elevate a person’s skills. Like most of us, leaders often go through their experiences somewhat mindlessly, accomplishing tasks but learning little about themselves and their impact.
Great leaders set themselves apart by becoming life-long learners. They read. They listen. And they learn. According to Andrew Merle in his Huffington Post article, "The Reading Habits of Ultra-Successful People":
In fact, when Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success, he pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
If you care about the people you are leading, become a learner.
Evolve. It is sad to say that some leaders recognize quickly the power that they have over people. And instead of using it to benefit others, they abuse their power to benefit themselves. Mark van Vugt developed the concept of Evolutionary Leadership and explains that the need for leadership is deeply embedded in our psyche. He also adds,
The relationship between leaders and followers is fundamentally ambivalent. The leader can abuse his position of power for his own benefit at the expense of others (see also the section leadership and dominance).
This goes directly to the heart of a leader's moral obligation to lead with fairness, equity, and compassion. But there is a maturation process to get there. The leader has to be clear on her values and priorities and how those values and priorities benefit the people she leads.
Think about a mother who acts selfishly and puts her own needs about those of her children versus a mother who consistently puts her children's needs a priority in her life. And the impact that a mother has on her children is tremendous. So is the impact of EVERY leader.
Grow. Leadership growth doesn't just happen. It is intentional. Have you heard of a Leadership Growth Plan? Building one starts with understanding why you want to lead. In "Designing Your Leadership Growth Plan," Jody Kennett says,
Your why will drive your leadership plan.
Gaia Leadership Project
After you understand your "why," you need to also understand how that ties to your personal vision and mission. Building a vision and a mission statement are two key tools that will help you define your leadership with clarity and conviction.
Succeed. As a leader, you succeed when your people succeed. This is one of the greatest priorities of Level 5 Leadership. According to Jim Collin's model for leadership, one of the key components is passion. Mindtools.com says this about Level 5 Leaders:
Level 5 Leaders are passionate about what they do, and they're not afraid to show it.
When the people you lead see your passion, it inspires and motivates them on a level above average.
Some leaders attempt to lead by fear and intimidation. This gets compliance in the short-term but leaves long-term impacts that hinder their ability to lead. The people that they lead give the bare minimum. And this hurts both the leader and the people that they are leading.
Does your leadership have L.E.G.S?
If it does not, NOW is the time to get on the path to developing your value proposition as a leader.
Learn more about creating a Vision Board to get clarity around your values, mission, and vision in my course >>>> https://goo.gl/vSNkkz
You can download the guide to the workshop here >>>> https://goo.gl/GoirxJ
Check out these three tips to attracting success. Download for FREE >>>> https://goo.gl/w5Bska
And if you want to get a jump-start on your reading plan, check out my reading list >>>> https://goo.gl/kh9vbQ
I am making plans to release more content to prepare you for 2018. Stay tuned!
Until then, I will be right here cheering for you!