“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
When you hear the word ‘leadership’ what comes to mind?
- Does it freak you out?
- Do you imagine being out the front with the flag leading the troops into battle?
- Does it bring up uncomfortable memories of dealing with a team of people, conflict resolution, and/or being a target for blame?
- Is it something you think you’ll never be cut out for?
Whatever the case, leadership has somewhere along the line becomes this uber complicated beast to tackle. It has become for many this highly-pressurized role where you have to get everything perfect in order to be a ‘good’ leader. And there is even a whole industry making a bunch of money off our belief that we are not innately a great leader already!
One of the biggest revelations for us as leaders at The Connection Effect has been that leadership actually requires a balance of being out the front, tracking alongside with people, and also leading from behind and letting the group take control.
We, too, fell into the trap of thinking we had to have it all figured out before we could communicate with our core team, our community, and our clients. And this trap encompassed tiny decisions all the way through to the more significant ones.
But it’s actually incredibly simple to be a leader who can touch, move and inspire others and we even cover off on it during an entire module in our brand new course How to Create a Hyper-Engaged Community. But for now, find out how in our latest video:
Now, although we don’t really like rules, along the way we’ve discovered 3 important tenets of thumb for powerful leadership that inspires action in others that have worked well for us and we hope they make a difference to you too (and of course there are many more):
#1 Tenet of Leadership: Don’t try to be different, just be more of who you already are
There is nothing wrong with having role models, but where we can start to go wrong is trying to be like someone else and abandoning our own unique self.
“I remember in my early days of coaching Naz asked me to lead the group coaching call we had and I tried to coach like Naz coaches, ask questions that I thought she might ask, and I found myself completely lost during the call as I had entirely abandoned myself. I had decided that my unique self-expression was not good enough, except I was only being a crappy version of Naz as a result and the whole group suffered for it. It was a hard pill to swallow: that I didn’t think I was a good enough leader/coach/person but it required that I face that belief so that I could strip it back and start to become more of who I already was.” – Leah
The more you can quit trying to be ‘different’, or like someone else (no matter how much you admire them) the brighter your light can shine. Because this is not about getting more leadership qualities on board, it’s about stripping back everything you already think leadership is and following your intuition instead.
Action: Write down all of the qualities and talents that you already possess. If in doubt, ask someone you trust (or a couple of people) what they think some of your best qualities are and then for each quality, write down why this makes you an awesome leader.
#2 Tenet of Leadership: Know your values & beliefs
We could go on and on about all kinds of leadership qualities like ‘have a growth mindset’, ‘be authentic’, ‘take responsibility’, ‘be open’, ‘lead an interesting life’, ‘be prepared to have tough conversations’ etc. but in truth all of those things stem from knowing your values and beliefs.
Think of them like your guiding light; those boundaries of what’s ok and what’s not ok and suddenly you will find decision-making much easier.
- Leah’s are: Aliveness, Fun, Freedom, Wellness & Family
- Naz’s are: Freedom, Fun, Connectedness & Truthfulness
Action: So what are your core values? We recommend choosing your top 4- 5 so that you can remember them and call on them easily. Steve Pavlina has a great list here.
#3 Tenet of Leadership: When in doubt – ask!
When we recently re-launched our World Changer’s Blueprint program this year, we were forming our participants into groups of 4-5 but we actually had 7 people all wanting a space in the same group.
We asked ourselves: What do we do? Split them up? Keep them together? Alternate the two teams halfway through? Delegate them one call time, but with the option to join both?
We were tearing our hair out trying to work out the best decision for the group. Until the penny dropped: ‘We need to ask them!’ And within a matter of a day, we had an overwhelming consensus that the group, despite its large size, wanted to stay together.
As we said above, many leaders fall into the trap of thinking they have to have it all worked out. You don’t! And in fact it’s better for business if you don’t (in most cases). Do you know what your community really want/need? Have you been playing a guessing game, wondering why certain things engage your audience, while others fall completely flat?
Action: Feedback is crucial to ensure you can adjust course as you go. Ask your community things like (ideally not all at once unless it’s a 1:1 interview with individuals):
- What is your #1 challenge right now?
- What do you love about this space/business/community/team/collective?
- What’s working well?
- What’s not working as well as you would like?
- What do you think is missing that could make a difference to your journey?
So we invite you to join with us in uncomplicating this leadership stuff, taking the pressure off yourselves, peeling back the layers, and starting to get vulnerable with your community. Why? Because a leader who openly shows that they don’t have it all worked out is someone that others can actually connect with – and there is no greater leadership quality than that.