Leading a team takes continuous, conscious effort. Great leaders often ask themselves questions to keep in check with best leadership practices. When evaluating your leadership aptitude, here are 3 questions you can ask yourself. Answering these questions regularly will help you assess your current leadership practice and hold yourself accountable to excellence.
1. Am I being honest? Authenticity and Vulnerability are attractive qualities in leadership. People want a leader who they can relate to. Opening yourself up creates a vulnerability that allows your team to see you as human. To practice authentic leadership:
Lead with transparency. By making your intentions transparent, you allow others to understand your motivations which will increase buy-in for your initiatives and ideas. When people see the logic behind your plan, they will be more likely to understand and embrace it. Part of being transparent is admitting that you might not have all of the answers. Authentic leaders ask for input and ideas from their team. Great leaders listen. They ask questions because they want to know the answers to the questions, not to make small talk. Leaders take what they hear and learn from it.If a team feels they helped create the vision they will be more likely to “own” it. Invite the ideas of others and incorporate these ideas in your roadmap. You are more likely to inspire others to achieve goals when the others are fully invested in the plan and have helped set the goals.
Be consistent. Consistent values and actions are the cornerstone of great leadership. An environment of genuine trust and honest dialogue can be achieved when a team understands what their leader stands for.Wikipedia defines integrity as “a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes.” This definition can easily be adapted to define the perfect leader. Thus, integrity is the foundation of authentic leadership. To lead with integrity, you must be consistent, deliberate and intentional. Great leaders think before they speak and when they act it is with deliberate intention.
2. Am I inspiring others? The most extraordinary leaders are the ones who inspire. A passionate leader who loves what he does is a magnetic force. How can you be more inspirational?
Be a passionate visionary. Great leaders paint a picture of the Promised Land for their team. Having a clear vision and a realistic plan to get there will help you gain credibility and buy-in. A shared vision is the glue that holds a team together and inspires greatness. If you love what you do, your passion will be contagious.Help others find what they love and find ways to utilize these gifts on the team. When you allow people to do what they are best at and passionate about, you will get their best effort and their best work.An effective leader listens and then tells a story that captivates his audience. Ultimately, you’re responsible for selling your vision. If you don’t deliver your message with passion and energy, how can you expect passion and energy in return from your team?
Be innovative. Foster a free exchange of ideas between you and your team. Encourage brainstorming sessions where there are no “wrong” answers. An important follow through to innovative thinking is flexible adaptation. Today’s marketplace is fast changing. What is the best method today might be the worst method a year from now. Great leaders have to show humility and be willing to change and challenges and opportunities are constantly in flux. The great leader of today is not stuck on his old ways but instead willing to adapt to innovative ways.
3. Am I being courageous? Workplace stress is high and employees are looking for leaders with courage. How can you demonstrate leadership courage? Here are a few tips:
Be forgiving. Environments that focus solely on avoiding mistakes squash creativity and undermine team morale. It’s better to forgive the occasional mistake that may result from a creative and energetic team dynamic then to crush innovation with fear. We’ve all heard Charles Swindoll’s poignant truth that “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” How you react to the good, the bad and the ugly will be a huge testament to your integrity.
Move forward. Courageous leaders are able to move forward even when the outcome is uncertain. Sometimes the steps taken are based purely on blind faith, but great leaders always keep moving forward.It can be scary to commit to a decision, but if leadership embraces change and moves forward with confidence, the masses will follow. Approach your forward movement with determination combined with an open mind and listening ear. You might have to make corrections along the way to your initial plan, but when that time comes, you will have the courage to communicate that you are learning as you go, listening and adapting but with unfailing integrity.
Leading a team is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Evaluating your actions through questioning your motives will help you assess your progress as a leader and give you reference for which to hold yourself accountable.
Note from Bob: What can you do to be More Authentic? More Inspiring? More Courageous?
Dallas Nevins is a social media marketing specialist with experience and expertise in the human resources industry. You can connect with Talent Quest at TalentQuest.com or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org You can email Dallas at email@example.com
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