Self-made international entrepreneur, author, speaker and marketer; Marnie LeFevre (marnielefevre.com) helps Women to achieve their dreams. I had the privilege of attending one of her one-day workshops and would like to share with you her view of what constitutes leadership – a view I support and totally resonate with.
How do you define leadership?
What comes to mind when you hear the word leader?
So many people want the title of being a leader, but only a few really understand that leadership doesn’t come from a title.
If you think of notoriety, wealth, power … then it’s no wonder you’ve been hesitant to call yourself a leader. It’s no wonder that leadership is something you’re placing far, far into your future.
If this is your thought process, then I can understand why you believe that leadership is something you may never achieve.
Here’s the truth: You’re already a leader.
Who says that a leader has to appear on television? Or have published a book? Or have thousands of followers?
Leadership is about showing someone else a better way, or helping them through a tough spot, or giving them the tools to make a positive change…and yes, that someone can be just one person.
At a workshop I attended, presented by Kerwin Rae (kerwinrae.com), leading business strategist and human performance specialist, he explained that intrinsically, kids, dogs and even horses don’t trust emotionally unstable humans. Emotionally unstable people are unpredictable and human beings see unpredictable people as a threat and a danger.
Kids especially see emotionally unstable adults as threatening. So, it’s really important that we understand that in order to lead we’ve got to be ‘calm assertive’, and to display emotional stability, which ultimately inspires trust.
There are countless ways that any one person can lead in a single day, and many of you are already doing many of them on a regular basis. However, you may not realise just how influential your behaviours are in the lives of those you’ve been leading.
Here are six ways that genuine leaders influence others, every day:
1. Lead by Example.
Do you know what kind of leaders have the happiest, most positive and most productive teams? The ones who are the happiest, most positive and most productive leaders, of course.
When you demonstrate, through words and actions, how you want your team members to interact with one another, with customers, investors, suppliers and other affiliates, you are leading.
Someone who is focused on waiting for a break in conversation, so they can interject what they have to say, will never become an effective leader.
However, a person who listens intently to what others have to say, digests what they’ve offered, and then uses language to show that they understand has great potential to be an effective leader. People take notice to who cares and who’s listening—and they tend to follow those people. This makes great listeners even better leaders.
2. Offer Advice.
Leaders don’t interject their opinions into every situation; they do, however, offer sound advice (based on experience) when they’re prompted or when they genuinely believe it will be helpful.
When the advice is good, it’s likely to work. And when it works to change a day, a week or a life, the giver of that advice will not only be remembered, they will be viewed as a leader.
3. Empower Others.
Leaders recognise the skill and efforts of others and empower people with responsibility and leadership pathways.
4. Bring Something Valuable.
What does an unhappy person need? Laughter.
What does a struggling business owner need? Sound advice.
What does a frightened child need? A strong arm to protect him.
What does a lonely person need? A friend.
When you give someone what they need, you immediately establish yourself as a leader. You saw a problem, you took initiative, you offered a solution, and you automatically made yourself memorable and recommendable … or in other words, a leader.
Sometimes, you won’t even know you changed someone’s day. Just by going about your normal routine (which is leadership-centred), you have made a difference.
Being a leader (and having the right to call yourself a leader) doesn’t have anything to do with money, power or notoriety. All that’s required is the consistent, everyday awareness of your ability to be a positive influence.
5. Share Vulnerability.
When a leader expresses vulnerability with clear boundaries it gives others the freedom to speak up and express the truth. It’s called the vulnerability loop – when you create that space that allows others to express their feelings of vulnerability too. That moment of vulnerability drives the trust and you see that pattern in all good cultures. It’s an essential ingredient.
6. Tell the Truth.
Great leaders are authentic and honest and tell you the truth… and they do so in a warm and caring way. They are empathetic and calm, but they don't shy away from presenting things as they are.
Most of us think we know what constitutes essential or core leadership skills and behaviours, but we need to realise that we are all capable of leadership. We are all leaders and influencers, and as we develop higher levels of self-awareness and consciousness we can really take control of the difference we make.
If you want to learn more about the tools and techniques for emotional management, vulnerability and other leadership skills, contact me. I offer a complimentary discovery session.
— Gwen Meyer