Your team is always a reflection of you as the leader. If you are an amazing leader, then your team will have a chance to be amazing. If you are a poor leader, then they don’t stand a chance to succeed.
There is no question about it. If you are reading this thinking: “Well, that statement is not completely fair because [insert excuse]” then we have work to do.
The intention here is to make you better, not to beat you apart. Keep in mind: Great leaders have not always been great, but at one point, they became intentional about their improvement and their ability to influence others. You can do the same.
What's an Influential Leader?
An influential leader gets people to move, to follow his/her vision, to focus on what's important for their own success while keeping the team in mind. An Influential Leader inspires people to be at their best and give their best.
Here is a good place to start.
1. Know Where you Stand
One of the most important keys for self-growth is knowing what is it that you are good at and where you need improvement. To have clarity on that, ask others for feedback about your ability to lead, and please ask them to be as honest as they can be. Pick your manager (boss), 2 peers, 2-3 people in your team and I would even recommend getting a couple friends to do this.
Face to face feedback would be ideal, but I’m afraid not everyone will feel comfortable giving candid feedback. It is a common struggle, even for some C-level executives, so my recommendation is to either get them do it over email OR even better, create a quick survey to make it easy. There are simple and free tools you could use now like Get Feedback or Google Forms.
2. Test your Self-Awareness
I will say this over and over again: The best leaders are self-aware and they embrace feedback. Take some time on your own and answer the same questions you asked the rest. Do this before you read any of the responses. Compare the gaps. Were you surprised by anything? What steps do you need to take towards improving your ability to lead?
Important to keep in mind: Take and accept the feedback with grace and appreciation. No matter how tough it was, this is for your own development.
3. Come Clean
After getting the feedback, reflect on the results and identify a list of 3-5 things to focus on for the next 6 months, gather your team and share what you have learned. Be open, humble and honest as you can be. Your team will respect you and appreciate your efforts to become better at leading.
Share your commitments with them. This is the best way to stay focused and self-accountable.
4. Move your Team Forward
Leading others means moving people towards their own success (focus on them) while staying connected with your triggers, thoughts, feelings and actions (focus on you) to work in your favor as an "influencer".
For years I kept a quote from one of Maxwell’s books near me, it says: “True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time—either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it.”
That quote reminded me to never take my position in leadership for granted. I had to earn it every day. And so do you.
5. Apply Discipline and Self-Accountability
Old-habits are hard to break. We all know that, and even though we are aware, why do we continue going back to what doesn’t serve us well? In this case, the options are: 1) You advance or 2) You lose. If you want a successful career in leadership, then it is important to keep yourself committed to your goals of improvement.
Your ability to lead and influence others will drive your potential for growth. [tweet that].
Those that remain comfortable, will fail and eventually get replaced by others with a greater sense of discipline and self-accountability to stay focused on their own development.
This topic applies to everyone, at every level in their careers and performance. It does not matter if your results have you at the top right now, what matters is that you keep all of your senses open and stay in constant evaluation mode of yourself as a leader. The focus and self-development should never stop. It is on you. Don’t let it stop.
What can you do today to move a step forward in your ability to lead and influence? Let us know in the comment box below or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#Break2be an INFLUENCER
Learn more about Mariana and her experience here.