The Seven Pillars Of Great Leadership In The Spotlight
Are you in a leadership position but do not know the seven pillars of leadership? Do you struggle to connect with your team? Do you want to learn how to develop leadership skills to better communicate with your team? So, what are these famous pillars of great leadership?
To enable an organization to thrive today, leaders have to embrace an authentic leadership style.
This is a factWith so much disruption, new generations and a hyper-connected world where information is a commodity, the leadership paradigm has to shift. The industrial revolution model of command and control leadership is no longer effective.
Actually, leadership skills are uncommon simply because we’ve received little or no education in this subject.
Yet, we shouldn’t assume that these attributes are unattainable or too challenging to learn. The path to sustainable and genuine leadership is the inner path. The good news is that this is a pathway that can be learned and cultivated.
The transition to leadership can be very challenging, as many professionals have not been prepared and developed to master the competencies that are necessary for success as leaders.
For many new managers, leadership can feel less tangible than their previous technical role. We aren’t sure where to spend our time, so we become fixers (jumping in to solve problems our employees should take care of) instead of facilitators (facilitating dialogue and coaching employees on how to handle challenges themselves).
Leaders need to get out of the technical weeds and focus on these key leadership pillars to facilitate a positive, result-driven team.
Whether leading a small team, large division, or an entire organization, these seven evidence-informed pillars of leadership provide a roadmap on how to transform your workplace, and challenge you to leverage the power of doing good to lead well.
Dare To Share
In order to foster a culture of learning, leadership needs to encourage conversations and develop an infrastructure for sharing information and ideas. Besides providing some basic ground rules, leaders must be active listeners to the conversation and help individuals and teams work together more effectively.
Leaders need to exhibit humility and be open to questioning and critique so that everyone feels empowered to contribute.
They should be sure to a lot enough time to allow defining issues and insights from the front lines surface, and respect that hurrying towards a solution will inevitably constrain the conversation and sacrifice contributions that might help illuminate the way forward.
The best organizations are those that actively grow leaders all the time. It all comes down to recognizing and developing new talent.
It’s not that difficult to do; you break down activities into different jobs and then give people the chance to lead them. If you can build leaders that way, you can capitalize on opportunities to grow.
Great leaders understand the power of listening, which is why they listen more than they speak. Genuine listening is a critical skill in ensuring that people feel heard.
This is a factListening is also the most significant skill for understanding employee’s experiences. When great leaders listen with the purpose of understanding, their members feel valued and cared for (or loved).
Great leaders realize others matter. They know there is no leadership without people to follow.
They believe in the value of those on their team and are willing to invest in them. They aren’t users of people, they are people-builders. They love people and love to see them succeed. They recognize and reward other people’s contributions.
📚 Additional reading
A leader is not measured by how much they have themselves advanced but rather by how well they have advanced the lives of others. Most often than not, failure is simply a result of lack of self-belief. A leader helps create that belief by challenging the standards people are used to and shaking them out of their comfort zone.
Tough Is Not Enough
Most people settle comfortably into the lives and roles into which they are born. They live mediocre, mundane lives and never get to realize their potential. Then there are those who stand out for challenging the status quo, for seeking to better themselves and the environment in which they are.
Real leaders take ownership for their lives. They don’t allow circumstances to prevent them from taking the next steps in their lives.
This is a factLeadership requires embracing uncertainty to actualize new possibilities. The stewards of leadership participate in the reality-making process that welcomes rather than resists uncertainty. From this vantage, the fear of making mistakes retreats.
Long-term, successful leaders don’t jump ship when times get difficult. In fact, some would say you don’t realize you need a leader until times are hard.
These leaders confront reality head-on; leading through needed change to a better reality. They don’t cower to pressure to conform or fail to say what needs saying. Equally, they aren’t hogs of attention. They don’t need to receive all the credit in order to lead the people to victory.
A good leader is constantly striving with conviction towards improvement and growth, and emanating belief that such improvement is necessary to their very sense of being.
Such a leader’s conviction and belief will inspire those they lead to follow their example and strive themselves for such lofty goals. The leader is, therefore, effective in proportion to the amount of self-belief and heroism he or she can project.
Leaders are in the position of leadership because of the dominating thoughts that occupy their minds.
This is a factAttitudes is developed based on your thoughts and believes. And they cannot be altered without first changing the underlying values that create them.
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The Knowledge Pledge
Effective leadership de-emphasizes traditional command-and-control functions. It relies less on the knowledge and experience of individual leaders, and more on the collective intelligence of the network.
Good leadership seeks to foster a culture of learning by empowering participants to explore creative solutions to the individual and collective challenges they face.
This is a factGreat leaders work hard to learn about the unique needs, values, goals and strengths of the members of their team. These qualities are key sources of internal and external motivation for optimal engagement and performance.
Although humility may seem counterintuitive, it is the very act that inspires confidence in others about our capacity to lead well.
Humility is being aware of our strengths while simultaneously recognizing we do not have all the answers and being willing to ask others for their knowledge and perspective. This allows us to take full advantage of the insights available to us in our surrounding environment.
Effective leaders learn about, build on, and leverage employee strengths. This is done in pursuit of working toward a shared vision in how to meet key business objectives.
This is a factManagers try to get people to do what the boss wants. Great leaders encourage employees to do what they are passionate about. This is only possible when leaders are in tune with what their employees desire, value, and hope to accomplish as they carry out their work.
True leaders work with others to translate their knowledge into initiatives that benefit their organization. They show the way through their actions and behavior.
Rather than becoming a bottleneck for knowledge, they share it freely and proactively. Rather than cultivating reliance on their own scarce skills, they seek to teach others to become more effective and less dependent. If knowledge is power, then leadership is greatness.
Seek Balance Stances
Formal authority is needed to structure the collaborative frameworks that form the basis of shared leadership. It is also required to ensure that key decisions are aligned with organizational goals.
Nevertheless, leadership can no longer lean on authority as the primary driver of results.
This is a factTo be competitive, organizations need to encourage authentic leadership and strike a new balance between formal authority and the relationship building and behavior modeling that mobilizes organizations and drives transformative change.
Authenticity requires a genuine sharing of our inner self. Very often, our actions in a given moment are intended to avoid certain consequences.
And so, we alter or suppress our communications and play it safe. These tendencies diminish our authenticity as they constrain our growth and self-esteem. Great leaders don’t fall prey to these concerns.
Great leadership isn’t easy, nor does it come without a certain amount of stress and a variety of challenges.
However, great leaders are those that can maintain a positive disposition in the face of stress and still know how to have fun and show a good sense of humor. Great leaders know that positivity, laughter and fun make good days great and the worst days better.
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of positive leadership.
It plays a critical role in leading well, as it is only through knowing who we are and how we come across to others that we can capitalize on our strengths, identify our blind spots, and take appropriate action accordingly.
📚 Additional reading
Love Is Underrated
Yes, love! It is not uncommon for people to characterize great leadership as exuding high levels of trust, respect, empathy, caring, compassion, tolerance, and patience.
Great leaders understand and prioritize maintaining strong interpersonal relationships as a major component of leader/member interaction.
This is a factThey protect their people, advocate for them, develop them, and place the needs of their teammates before their own. And consistently honor and validate the dignity, integrity, and worth of their employees.
Caring leaders take a genuine interest in others. They strive to better know the people working with them.
This is not just to make token enquiries from time to time but because they really want to know their people and encourage them to be the best they can be. When care is genuine, it is interwoven in everything that you do.
Empathy allows us to step outside of ourselves and not only see situations through another’s eyes, but to understand things from their point of view.
This is a factLeaders, who recognize that he or she is leading normal people, and not just managing for an outcome, will engender a huge amount of loyalty, engagement and productivity. Treating others as we would like to be treated is a universal principal that’s worked for more 2,000 years.
To love is to lead. It is the people with whom we work — if we care for them, and they for us — that provide the strongest motivation.
We lead people, and treating them as such — with affection, encouragement, and genuine warmth — is to treat them as the kind of leader who will push them above and beyond what even they considered themselves capable of.
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Authentic leaders connect on emotional levels with those around them. They tune in to their people. This type of attuning seeks to appreciate how the other person perceives matters, addressing what typically goes unspoken.
Arrange for Change
What good is a leader who can’t adapt to change? How do you keep up with the latest developments in the economic markets or technology if you’re not open to seeing the new reality unfolding before you?
The best leaders have a hunger, a craving to learn new things–to look at the world in new and creative ways. It’s about identifying opportunities.
This is a factThings move so fast these days they become obsolete before you know it. Sometimes people get stuck in their patterns and they forget to step back and look at the big picture.
The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
Vision and strategy can be built collaboratively, and authentic leaders can help define that reality. But then the leader must live the paradox of championing the future, and yet engage in the purposeful motivation and practical realities of the present.
A leader must know what direction the team is headed towards, and what is the absolute goal people want to achieve.
Members will challenge you with whatever they are uncomfortable about when they feel lost, and if you do not have the logical skills to justify everything the group is doing and connect it to the ultimate goal, you will fall apart too, let alone convince the team.
Leaders need to inspire employees by sharing how their contributions fit into strategic goals, and then set clear expectations, goals, and deadlines.
It is necessary to create clarity daily, so employees understand the priorities. This requires leaders to have the skill of zooming in and out: zooming out to see the broader strategic picture of what needs to be done while anticipating obstacles and adjusting priorities, and zooming in to focus yourself and your staff on what needs to be done in the short term.
📚 Additional reading
Getting people to adopt new paradigms is not easy, as allegiance to the status quo can permeate companies and resistance to change can come from any individual.
Higher Is Better
When you have a purpose that goes beyond you, people will see it and identify with it. Being purpose driven defines the nobility of one’s character. It inspires others.
Purpose is the difference between a salesman and a leader, and in the end, the leader is the one that makes the impact on the world.
This is a factPassion is what gets a leader up in the morning ready to face another day. They believe in their call to lead. They are zealous to see it come to reality. They have a contagious enthusiasm.
Yet purpose can be found in every job—it is a primary responsibility of the leader to ensure every team member knows where to find it.
When employees are dedicated to the purpose of what they do, not only does it drive better results, it improves retention. The opportunity to make a difference is an invaluable currency.
Bridging reality to the goal is not something everyone knows how to do, but that’s something a leader must master in order to become effective.
Getting things done and focusing on action items is one of the concepts that don’t have libraries of how-to literatures on, primarily because it is so simple and straight forward. Make sure everyone is accountable with their tasks and start executing!
When a leader comes along showing us a path to being better not just as individuals but also as a part of something greater as a group, they raise in others a sense of self-belief.
This is a factThis self-belief is true empowerment. Self-belief helps create that bridge from where we are to where we could be and should be. A great leader knows how to raise others up and empower them to believe in themselves.
The old adage, “The only constant is change,” needs to be revised to “Everything perpetually flows.” This requires seeing uncertainty as your ally, the realm from which new possibilities are created.
Great leaders must relish the flow, dive in, and truly lead.
This is participatory leadership, as we participate in the unfolding of what we call the future. These seven pillars of leadership create a formidable platform from which to lead others.
A lot of leaders out there possess 1 or 2 of the leadership pillars here, but very few of them have all.
Some leaders are extremely passionate about the vision, connect well with all the members, but drive progress very slowly. It’s important to emphasize on recognizing the brutal facts, and a leader must understand himself well in order to constantly improve himself and the group.
While some people are born with these traits, others take the time to learn and apply them.
This is a factLeadership is not a title. You can never be appointed a leader, whatever your business card may say. Leadership has to be earned. Certain individuals have the ability to impact the lives of others with their action, insights and words.
Not everyone is meant to be a leader. Leadership is a huge responsibility. True leadership is in service to others and requires mastering these seven pillars of leadership for success.
What one leadership principle will you use today to become a better leader for yourself and your team? It’s your turn to help create more leaders in this world. Share this article with people who are looking for information. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and check out other articles.