Where we start matters, much more than where we end up. For, it is in the starting of something that matters. The action, not the result. Let us embark, then, on a simple foray into leadership essentials. What are those essentials, and why do they matter? And, do they matter only for leaders, or do they matter for everyone on a team, in a family, or in a relationship? Hm. Good questions. Let’s take a look.
One of the most important leadership skills, is the ability to know oneself. Understanding who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, is critical to effective leadership. It is an impossibility to effectively lead a team, when you are disconnected from yourself, or are hiding from yourself. Impossible.
What is possible, is to be honest about who you are, and to be authentic. Being anything other than authentic will come off fake. The team will know when you are not being authentic, and traction with the team will elude you.
When you are authentic about who you are, you create the possibility of openness. When you are open to all that is around us, you also show that you are vulnerable. And, when you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you do not, could not, know all of the answers. No one can.
The opposite of authenticity and vulnerability is rigidity. Being rigid, pretending you know things you do not, will shut people down, close doors to new possibilities, and decline moral.
Practicing authenticity and vulnerability starts with you. You are the only one that can be authentic, and vulnerable. It can be frightening, as I share often with the team I work with, to be out on a ledge before the unknown. However, that is where all the great stuff awaits you.
Creating a safe environment where people can be who they are, while knowing that they are safe to do so, is important to building trust. And, building trust with those you work with, reciprocally creates more safety.
I believe that the ability for a leader to create safety, is one of the most important leadership skills. That is my bias. However, know that without trust, developing the investment, or buy-in, from team members on what you are looking to create is impossible. They must trust you completely. And, trust will only come when the environment is a safe one.
When you have created a safe and trusting environment, you have the opportunity to innovate because people are willing to trust in each other and be vulnerable. Safety increases the likelihood that people will be who they really are, authentic and vulnerable. And, being vulnerable is one of the keys to creating innovative teams.
Include Transparent Communication
Being open with your team, includes being transparent. In the first year working with the team I am currently working with, there were people that were surprised when I would discuss the financials with them. They had never had open conversations about the finances. They were simply told to hit a number, or were told nothing.
You may get results this way, however, I am here to tell you that those results will not last, or will be limited. People that don’t understand the financials, cannot understand all that is possible. And, similarly, only knowing a number, is only one piece of the whole. People need to have access to all of the information, so they can grow.
When people grow, the team grows. And, when the team grows, you grow. Simple. Growth will only come when you have created an environment that welcomes growth. Welcoming growth, which includes creating opportunities for individual and team development, are keys to building an innovative and dynamic team.
Developing High-Quality Relationships
Being authentic and vulnerable, while creating a safe and trusting environment, which includes transparent communication is all about creating high-quality relationships. And, it is inside of the development of these relationships where reciprocity flourishes.
Building and fostering relationships that are reciprocal, means that it is always a team effort. Always. As a leader, you lead and set the tone, including practicing all of which we’ve discussed, however, it is the entire team that creates traction that is sustainable. And, as they grow, you grow, and as you grow, they grow. Transformational.
The leadership skills we’ve discussed in this post are not limited to work teams. These leadership skills can be used in any relationship. And, you can get transformational results from any of your relationships by employing these leadership skills.
Relationships that are transformational have no limits. People in these relationships, whether it is a work team, family, marriage, partnership, or any other relationships, live without limits, without fear of the unknown, at the edge of what is known. As a leader, it is your choice. What will you choose to create with your team and in your relationships?