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(10 Principles of Modern-Day Leaders Series)
The paradigm of leadership has shifted over recent decades. With multiple generations in the workplace, a globally connected world, competitive job markets, demand for work/life balance, and fast-moving changes in technology, leaders need to adapt to changes and understand how to effectively connect with those they are leading.
In this ten-part series, we layout ten principles that modern leaders can lead with to be the most effective difference makers they can be.
We see a lot of shouting in today’s world. Watch the news, scroll through social media feeds, or walk into the workplace and we can find individuals doing anything they can to prove to someone else why they should feel a certain way and why the other way to think is incorrect. It’s as if they’re desperately trying to prove something not just to the person they’re speaking to, but to themselves.
But walk into rooms where you find great leaders, and you’ll rarely see this behavior. A great leader isn’t hindered by the qualities of insecurity that poor leaders often struggle with. They aren’t pushing an agenda to prove their worth, because they know exactly what they bring to the table. They’re open to new ideas and new ways of thinking because it’s not about them, it’s about the betterment of the organization and the people around them.
How does an effective leader begin to adopt this mindset? How does a leader let go of their need to prove their power? How does a leader focus less on their ego and more on the advancement of others?
For one, a strong leader knows when to avoid rushing to judgment or jumping to conclusions.
An essential aspect of leadership is making important decisions. If a leader can draw from past experiences, prior knowledge, and has a good pulse on a situation, those decisions can be made quickly and without wasted time & energy.
However, all leaders face moments of decision that require thorough investigation and well-thought strategy. When this happens, it’s up to the leader to see all angles and points of view of the situation before making a final decision. If a leader rushes the decision, there might be something important that went unseen. Know when to move quickly and when to move patiently to become a more effective leader.
As a leader gains experience and improves his or her leadership capacity, harder decisions can routinely be made quicker. When a team faces disagreement and uncertainty during those decisions, a great leader can see through different personality windows of team members to understand where each teammate is coming from and why they may choose to take different approaches.
For example, a production-based teammate might think how a change or a decision will affect the overall business (production numbers, profits, material costs, etc.). A relationship-based teammate might think how a change or a decision will affect the people running the business (morale, bonuses, overtime hours, etc.).
When two sides disagree, it’s not uncommon for each side to feel strongly about their stance in decision-making. Even the leader making the final decision might be heavily influenced one way, but it’s up to this leader to put aside a need to prove authority, listen to both angles, and do the right thing for the overall situation.
Making the best decisions as a leader isn’t always easy or simple. If it were, everyone would be in a higher leadership position. But the question to ask yourself is simple: Are my decisions made to prove I belong in a leadership role? Or am I making decisions for the betterment of my people and the business?
If you answered “yes” to the first question, the time to start learning how to build your leadership capacity and shifting into a leader’s mindset is now!