“True leadership of self and others starts with the mind and it is best thought of as a behaviour, not as a role.”
Everyday you come across your inner leader while making choices, decisions or in getting work done or in guiding others in your workplace or chasing your goals. It becomes very important to lead others in a positive way wherever you are or at whatever place you find yourself in life, be it personally or professionally. The true leader in us is always facing work reality day in and day out where we are constantly distracted by external forces, people and tasks, information overload, and are often interrupted by matters that are not in your control which needs your immediate attention. The pressure is always on as you are always drifting and trying to catchup living on autopilot without a clear sense of purpose and direction.
Whether you are aware of it or not, on some level you are continually leading and managing yourself and others. If you come under the day to day limitations and distractions no matter how expert your capabilities, skill and competence may seem, you fail to connect and inspire the people you lead in an organisation or in your personal life and would fail to value and flourish. You cannot manage or lead others if you have never learnt to manage, lead and discipline yourself. The first way to encourage the assets of others is to develop these within yourself first. In order to do this, you should be able to:
• Take yourself beyond your routine ways of thinking and behaving and lead yourself to higher levels of focus.
• Cultivate optimism, persistence, openness, high emotional quotient, and better interpersonal skills.
• Grow your inner focus which attunes you to your intuitions, guiding values and better decisions.
• Show self-restraint to inhibit your impulses and develop will-power and self-discipline.
• Have long-term goals to be able to focus on without getting distracted from all the clutter and distractions around.
• Shed your old habits, beliefs and older ways of working by asking whether the presumptions you are holding onto are true or not.
• Leave your comfort zone once you realise there is no growth and should be prepared to do or learn newer ways by adapting to change.
• Create an inspiring shared vision and the drive to achieve goals.
• Pursue a plan for improvement of self and others.
Performing right and required actions is the foundation for everything you want to achieve in life in general. You should not be predefined by what you are now, rather you should be able to recreate yourself by what you do. Your inner leadership skills further depend on achieving results in your own life or for your work place or for your people who believe in your goals. From this perspective, the ability to manage yourself and things you pay attention becomes important. By developing your awareness of self and others and applying it to manage your inner world and your relationships with others can improve your decision-making abilities and control your choice-making capabilities.
‘Success on the outside really does begin from within’. Here are certain qualities to develop to embrace your inner leader.
In order to lead and inspire others successfully, you must be in tune with your inner leader by understanding your strengths and weaknesses. You must devote yourself to you own self growth to find meaning and live each day with purpose and intention. The more you come to know who and what you really are as a person, the more value you will be able to create. Identify what is most important and what makes you meaningfully different and authentic. Self-awareness will enrich your judgment and makes you aware of the consequences of each of your choices or decisions. This will help you to develop new strengths and have a positive impact on others.
Your values determine whether or not you are in control of your inner leader. Align your actions to what you believe and say. Having high integrity helps you in doing right by making right choices. Sharing your values help others understand what motivates you and strive to learn and understand the values of the people you work with. This reduces the chances of future conflict and strengthens your interpersonal relationships.
Every time you avoid doing right, you fuel the habit of doing wrong. Always take a high road and make a tough and right choice based on your values rather than the easy road. Decisions aligned with your values help you to become more effective in leading yourself and others.
“One cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in other. Life is one indivisible Whole – M. K. Gandhi.”
When you pursue right purpose, it leads you to do things that are meaningful to you and whatever is relevant to that purpose gets priority thereby eliminating distractions. Get people around you excited about a meaningful cause that contributes to the lives of others. Make decisions that support your purpose and focus on liberating their full potential through the work they do. Align and prioritise your actions to achieve results that matter most to you and to people you work with. Your commitment to right purpose and adherence to it will improve your leadership ability.
If your goal is to lead and create the most value for your organisation or for yourself, then you must be able to perform to the best of your abilities. This can be achieved by cultivating self-discipline. More often, it’s not that achieving your goals is physically impossible, it is the lack of self-discipline to stick to them that keeps you from reaching your full potential. Self-discipline improves your will-power to overcome obstacles and moves you onwards towards your goal. Every act of discipline strengthens your confidence and helps you control your impulses while staying focused on what needs to get done. The strong desire for your purpose can act as a self-motivator to discipline yourself and to channel your energies in appropriate ways.
“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker
The ability to manage your attention and having right focus is the key to bring out the leader in you. Increase in ‘on task’ time could have a significant improvement in leading yourself effectively to get more focused attention. Focusing your attention on right things and directing attention toward where it needs to go is a primal task of leadership. The ability to shift attention to the right place at right time can refine efficiencies and improve yours and everybody’s performance. By maintaining right focus on goals that matter to you , you can seize opportunities and can improve yourself to be innovative and productive.
As important it is to know yourself, to bring out the leader in you, you need to like people and should have a passion to interact, listen and understand them. Develop a deeper understanding of people around. Be empathetic and sensitive to their needs. Understand what drives them and demonstrate genuine concern for their welfare. Guide them through challenges and always be on the lookout for solutions to help them get through their personal challenges. Paying attention to others needs and listening to advice and expertise helps you make right decisions that transform fear to hope by questioning your assumptions. Learn to listen and communicate with care.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.”- Susan Sarandon
Have genuine passion and enthusiasm for the work you do. Be excited about what you do and find the best in others and surround yourself with positive people. Pursuing a vision that makes you feel worthy and meaningful and helping others ṭo liberate the fullness of their talents makes you more passionate. Being passionate opens up new possibilities, this in turn, would lead to new choices and new changes and action. Your passion becomes an anchor to keep you from drifting during turbulent times. Being passionate helps you to see good in every circumstance and creates positive attitudes to the opportunities.
“Good leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch
Develop the ability to communicate persuasively. It’s easy to get others to do what you want them to do if you’ll see things from their perspective. Avoid thoughtless actions and look for ways to passionately stimulate and energise people and deliver right messages that motivate and reassure. Praise them for every effort they put forth. When something isn’t going right, point out the one thing at the moment that they could do better and help them find the way without making them feel small. Motivate and steer them in right direction and help them be successful too.
There is no singular path towards solving a problem. Rather than rigidly adhering to traditional and outdated ways of doing things, remain flexible in your thinking and in management of others by adapting to change. Adopt new habits and cultivate new attitudes to embrace change. If your old ways are not proving to be of value, it is important to have the flexibility to re-examine and change the course as needed. Sharpen your skills, develop your talents to help you turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Be determined not to give up easily when things don’t go your way. Never run yourself down. View failure as opportunity and seek to better yourself and your circumstances. Esteem yourself not with egotism but with humble, realistic self-confidence. If you possess genuine confidence and live with an unshakable sense of who you are, you can be determined to achieve your goals. Make your decisions with clarity and act despite risk and doubt.
• Be inspired by great purpose.
• Remain flexible and maintain openness to change.
• Accept responsibility.
• Be resilient in the face of obstacles.
• Create a sense of direction in your life having the foresight to anticipate problems or needs before they arise.
• Increase your mindfulness by constant questioning and listening.
• Have impeccable integrity.
• Listen to advice and expertise
• Be collaborative and make decisions by consensus.
• Motivate, influence and help people in developing new strengths or refining their abilities.
• Be receptive to insights, perspectives from other people and their perception.
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time”. – George Barnard Shaw
Everyone wants to live the life of their dreams. When you start to live the life of your dreams, there are going to be obstacles, mistakes, and setbacks along the way. Often a trivial mistake we commit can make us feel dejected. Each of us have our own flaws. We must not allow them to overwhelm us and discourage us in the pursuit of our dreams.
Mistakes are sometimes committed unintentionally or being ignorant or by lack of understanding. You will be a better person if you try and learn from them and not to allow them to happen again.
We sometimes have to change ourselves for better in order not to get stuck in the loop of committing the same mistakes.
Here are some simple guideposts to help you turn your mistakes into learning opportunities.
Admit your mistakes.
If you go wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Take responsibility for your actions. Do not be afraid of admitting your mistakes. Have the courage to be your own critic. Seek your faults and correct them. This is one habit which distinguishes a winner from a loser.
Get out of error groove.
“By dwelling too much upon your mistakes you can keep yourself in an error groove”. Clinging to your thinking about your mistakes can condition you to make the same mistakes again. Come out of the error groove. Don’t let your mistakes in the past ruin your present.
Learn from your mistakes.
Research each mistake. Try and work out what you did wrong and devise new strategies to equip yourselves to do better in the future. learn that there is a good side to every mistake. Train your mind to learn from your successes.
Feel free to innovate.
“Don’t let the fear of committing mistakes keep you from trying new things”.
Every time you innovate, you are going to run the risk of making a mistake. It is okay if you go wrong when you are trying something new. You need not get it right in the first attempt. Learn and then go on to get it right next time.
Turn On the Problem-solving mode.
Learn to respond to your mistakes by thinking how not to let them happen again. This will take you to a problem-solving mode. This way, you can arrive at a solution in correcting the mistakes and not get discouraged. But if you ignore the mistakes, then that type of thinking will keep you away from learning and advancing towards your goals.
Have right focus.
Everyday we do certain things frequently. This gets us into a habitual mode of doing tasks. We don’t focus on them completely and our minds wander because of the habitual nature. This is when mistakes happen. The key here is to have right focus and pay attention towards your goals.
Remember to persist with your goals and dreams. See the good side and never allow yourself to get discouraged. Give yourself countless opportunities to learn and grow from your mistakes.
“ There is no limit to what a man can do, as long as he doesn’t mind who takes the credit.”
Working together works. Everyone, whether at work or in play situations need to work together. Even the horses pulling the chariot have to run at the same speed, for the chariot to move forward towards the desired destination. Working together is about equality of sacrifice to make things work.
A player in a team may be excellent in his individual performance, but he cannot become a good team player if he is not willing to sacrifice his personal acclaim for the good of the team. In your daily life, at home or at work, you might be excellent at what you do, but if you are not walking that extra mile in harmony with others or your coworkers, you are of no use.
When you help others around you feel important, you help yourself feel important too. This helps in building a positive team spirit. We all depend on others in order to achieve success. Practice being the kind of person people like.
Working together works if you think right towards people. Winning others support fuels success-building. Here’s how to build positive relationships when working together with other people.
Speak to People
Become genuinely interested in other people. There is nothing so nice as a cheerful word of greeting and a smile. Be a good listener and talk in terms of other person’s interests. This lets others know you feel kindly towards them.
Be Generous with praise
Practice appreciation with honest compliments. Let them know you appreciate what they do for you. Compliment them on little things, don’t feel that you have to praise them only for big accomplishments.
Don’t be Egotistical
Guard against the impression that you know it all. The excessive need to be “ me” will make you opinionated. Drop the need to rate others and stop imposing your standards on them. Let others talk about their views, opinions, and accomplishments.
Don’t hog glory, praise others efforts too. Success depends on the support and efforts of others as well. Failing to give proper recognition will only create negativity. Recognise others contribution.
Be Friendly and Helpful
Cultivate the quality of being friendly and genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try. Practice being the kind of person people like by taking the responsibility for your actions and admitting when you go wrong.
People don’t like to be critiqued. Don’t condemn or complain. Accept human differences. Don’t expect anyone to be perfect. Remember others have a right to be different. Find qualities to like, not things to dislike.
Think Positive towards people
Don’t blame others when things don’t go the way you want them to be. Thinking right towards people removes frustrations and stress. Give others a fine reputation to live up to. Be patient and practice liking people genuinely.
Drop the habit of overestimating your contribution to success and underestimating others contribution for the same. Claiming the credit that we don’t deserve will not only deprive people of the credit they deserve but also is going to deplete the positive team spirit.