Leadership is a sought-after capability, especially in a society that is drowned by a cacophony of ideas, brands and distractions. In order to stand out as a leader, you need to be authentic, bold and integral in your approach. For those who know me, some have stated that I adopt leadership qualities, which has been bestowed upon from a young age. Growing up in a West-African household, predominantly by my mother, I had to learn to develop my practical initiative quickly; a capability talked about below. From there my involvement in the church community, charities and the sports field quickly helped condition my mindset for communicating efficiently with others. This meant that my intuitive direction and social maneuvers needed to sensitively adapt and to cater towards positive outcomes. In order to outline my thoughts on leadership, I have outlined 6 Fundamental Principles of Leadership:
1. Adaptable Communication
Being able to speak another person’s language is being able to empathize with that person and see through their eyes; assuming you can actually communicate in a common national language. Their expressions give a signatory code that reveals their thoughts, feelings and forthcoming actions. Decoding this for everyone you meet is key to successfully working with people. It is about understanding them on an acute level, whether that is a deep or not. Social cues, mannerisms and behavioural insights are important to assess in a split second of your interactions. This is a measure of intelligence from the point of view that focuses on human observation, as well as human responsiveness. Knowing how to and when to answer a person is also key, realizing that this changes in groups as opposed to one-to-one. Be clear on knowing and understanding the people you work with, and aim to connect with them on a positive social and emotional level, unveiling a common understanding. One thing that can be overlooked is the ability to trust; this requires you to be due-diligent and integral at all times. Trust is developed on many different levels and can even mature into reverent respect for one another. Maintaining trust is key to communication and building relationships, and often this is formed day-to-day, on a social and emotional level. Learn to respond to people in such way that invigorates a positive energy and vibrant attitude, but is appropriate for the energy levels that an individual thematically or currently emits.
2. An Attractive Vision
Casting a strong, vivid and bold picture of the future, that is linked to a sense of optimistic realism is key for defining the driving force behind a person or team’s success. You need to be able to activate rooted belief systems in people so that they feel enabled to act in a more inspired and sophisticated way. This is important because it means that the person brings more than themselves to the game. Someone activated by belief and motivation is an inspirational source of action, and people who are under this source of magnetism are able to deliver much more effective and powerful outputs. This means that you need to believe in the vision, and understand the desires, motivations and reasons why you are doing what you are doing. If you can also learn to develop an understanding of why members of your team are doing what they are doing (using social interactions), you have a better chance of developing an attractive vision. Practiced public speakers are brilliant at doing this because they look at the rate-limiting beliefs and assess what is required to overcome them; they use this knowledge to construct and deliver an inspirational message to their audience. Learn to be a confident leader in defining your beliefs, firming up your knowledge, developing the right credentials and taking action when required. All of these things help to shape an attractive vision for you, especially if it is one that people can relate to.
3. Empowering Facilitation
The person who is able to lead with a purpose is someone who understands the human psyche. The coach and mentor should always be embedded within you, knowing when to use it, and when not to use it. Developing and upskilling people is key for an inspired and competent team. What is even more important is realizing that if you are able to mentor and coach the quality of someone’s thinking process, you have changed them for life. Competency is the measure of one’s internal self-sufficiency. If you can help improve this measure, then you are giving them skills for life. You are effectively creating more leaders. Self-sufficient people create the environments and opportunities to go that extra mile. In order to empower facilitation with people, learn to do the following:
- Ask effective questions
- Listen actively
- Give people the opportunity to learn
- Create an environment for debate and discussion
You are responsible for helping your team be as “present” as possible, and not wandering off due to fears related to your communal endeavours. Being a leader is being able to recognise this, and help relieve any anxieties where appropriate.
4. A Self-sufficient system
If you can empower facilitation then you are setting up a human system that will work more efficiently. What comes with this is making sure that you have the basic communication channel, processes and platforms to allow the system to operate. It is great to work strategically and operationally, however, a lot of your time should be spent improving processes and documenting them. In order to create self-sufficiency, you need the following:
- A majority of self-sufficient people who have initiative
- …and/or key influencers
- Processes documented in a communicable way
- Tools, resources and environments to allow work to happen
5. Practical Initiative
As a leader, you need to know how to respond and when to respond in given situations. Being aware when to take charge and knowing when to step back is vital! Stepping back and observing the court is key to knowing how to respond to different situations. If your colleagues are in trouble or have left themselves in an awkward situation, think about the long-term effects and how your colleague is feeling at the time. Working to positively impact those factors should help to steer you to make the right decisions, and therefore actions, especially in difficult situations. Your confidence developed using principle two will help you make the right choices. Having a practical initiative is the ability to assess things properly and take appropriate action in that moment of time. Making the right decisions is key, having in mind the bigger vision as well as your team members wellbeing.
6. Perceptive Social Influence
A leader is almost a mind reader. What I really mean by this is that you need to be able to understand your team so well that you know what moves they are going to make, sometimes even faster than what that person anticipated. Tying all the principles together and doing them well will enable you to do principle six extremely well. The best way to develop this skill is to improve what you understand about yourself. Learning to be completely and utterly honest with yourself helps you to develop self-awareness. Once you develop self-awareness, you are able to develop self-control. Throughout time this gives you an understanding of how people thematically respond to you in given acute situations. The intelligence you develop from this will help you know how to better communicate a message to people, and eventually influence them in a way that produces positive results; positive meaning a desired one, or focused towards the attractive vision.
I hope you enjoyed this post, as much as I enjoyed writing it. Read over these six key leadership principles again, and see whether you can apply them in your life. Enjoy the rest of your day! Check out my latest book that talks about the 7th one, desire!