How to Be an Inspiring Leader it’s Easy, and the Rewards are Great
It’s been a longstanding idea in business that emotions should be kept out of the workplace. Whatever’s going on in your personal life, you leave it at home so you can bring your most productive self to work.
But in a year when so many lines have become blurred — when a home has become work, and people are so exhausted they couldn’t possibly leave their personal experiences at the door — it’s clear that this old-fashioned idea can’t hold up much longer.
I think that what the world is calling for now is radically human leadership — leadership based on humility, on not just showing empathy but having empathy, on being vulnerable, on being authentic.
While it’s pretty obvious how leading this way would create a more enjoyable workplace for employees, it also leads to higher productivity and success.
People want to know that they’re part of something bigger than themselves,” he said. “They want to grow, they want to learn, they want to be loved, and they want to know what they do matters to somebody else. And research clearly shows that companies that do those things will outperform.
So, many of my colleagues have had to make many hard decisions as a company, like the layoffs that so many faced. They did it in the most humane way they could and made sure to be there for their employees along the way — and now are seeing business levels that have bounced fully back to normal.
If you’re used to keeping emotions at a distance in the workplace, learning to become a radically human leader can feel foreign. Here are a few ways to get started.
Begin with yourself
Being a radically human leader has to start with you.
I don’t think you can be a radically human leader unless you are radically human. That starts with looking in the mirror and candidly saying, ‘Where are my blind spots? Where are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?’
In particular, take a hard look at how you and your organization deal with failure. If failure is punished rather than encouraged, your employees may never feel comfortable opening up the things that are making it hard for them to do their jobs, meaning you’ll never have the opportunity to support them through it.
This also means modeling the behaviors you want to see in others and not being afraid to show up with vulnerability to demonstrate to your team that they’re free to do the same. This doesn’t mean dumping all of your troubles on your team, but not feeling like you always have to plaster on a happy face when you’re going through something tough.
Create space for connection
Of course, your employees aren’t just going to start suddenly opening up to you about their troubles, particularly if you haven’t had a culture of radically human leadership before.
Instead, start by connecting with your employees in smaller ways — asking about their weekends, families, and hobbies. Over time, this will make them feel comfortable sharing some of the harder things going on in their life.
In today’s virtual workplace, that also means being very purposeful about creating space for connection.
If anything, I’ve increased the amount of time I’ve spent just talking to my employees. When I do a Zoom call, never start with the topic at hand — I’ll try to make a connection with the people on the call first because it would have happened if we were in person.”
Show up even if you don’t have the answers
As a leader, there will be many situations where there’s no solution, no way to fix what’s going on.
The trick is to be humble enough to recognize that and still go out of your way to reach out to your employees and make sure they know you’re there for them.
Cliff Locks is a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.
Available to join your Board as a Certified Master Professional Board of Director and Advisor.
I am a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.
As a Trusted Mentor, Confidant, and Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.
Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.
The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.
As your trusted confidant, I am always by your side, holding your deepest secrets and never judging. Everything discussed is held in complete confidence.
What many executives feel is missing from their busy life is a trusted business person who understands the holistic complexity of both their business and personal life.
I strive to provide solid financial, business, and family expertise and serve as a dispassionate sounding board, a role I like to call “Executive Confidant.”
By holding a safe place for the Executive to work on life path issues as well as direction, I repeatedly see remarkable benefits as personal values become integrated with wealth and family decisions, enhancing a more meaningful life.
As an Executive Confidant, I welcome a confidential conversation about the most important issues facing the business leader, including:
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When I do my job well, I facilitate positive action in both your professional and personal life. This consistently has a positive benefit on impacting people within the sphere of your influence.
The job of an Executive can be lonely. For various reasons, confiding in colleagues, company associates, family members, or friends presents complications. Powerful, successful, and wealthy individuals often isolate themselves as a protective reaction because of their inability to find people they can trust and confide in.
Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.
The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:
• Aligning life priorities with the responsibilities of wealth. • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life. • Desiring a candid and experienced perspective. • The answers often come from within, and we cannot arrive at them easily. • Clarity often comes into focus, with skilled questions and guided discovery. The right questions can be the first step in achieving ideal outcomes.
Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?
Referrals to a team members or family members are always welcome.
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