When we think of leadership, we most often think of how our decisions affect other people. Of course, that’s absolutely necessary, because any leader that fails to think of their team is automatically going to struggle and fail in their tasks. This is why we pride leaders who lead from the front instead of the back because it shows that they’ll never ask us to do something they cannot do themselves.
That said, it’s important not to be so self-sacrificing that you never make decisions for yourself. In order to be a good leader you have to feel nourished, able to make decisions under pressure, and have the fortitude to carry that out. If you’re to share the credit of success and take full responsibility for failures, then you need to be robust in your daily approach.
This topic is vastly under-discussed, frankly because it can seem in bad taste for a leader to consider how to help themselves, and not only everyone under them. In this post, then, we’ll break tradition and see that such advice isn’t given in bad faith, only to help support the rigorous system of leadership from the top down:
Look To Inspirational Figures You Admire
Exploring the lives of inspirational leaders not only offers motivation but also serves as a source of practical wisdom that echoes through the ages.
It doesn’t matter if it’s studying the innovative strategies of successful entrepreneurs, understanding the resilience of leaders who have overcome adversity (such as the first woman to achieve a major goal, or the first man to climb Mount Everest), or appreciating the ethical principles of renowned figures, each story contributes to virtues that you may wish to emulate in your own leadership.
Note that this doesn’t mean you have to copy what they did or try and emulate every decision they made. But knowing their story can give you fuel even during the challenging moments. Make sure to consider creating a curated list of leaders from various industries and backgrounds.
For some, it’s Marcus Aurellius, for others, it’s Amelia Earhart or Marie Curie. Of course, it can also be someone alive today with wisdom to share. It never hurts to read the memoir of a great sports coach, sometimes, adopting the mindset you need comes from more than just quotes and figures, but a whole mindset and worldview.
Leverage Technologies That Help You Lead More Easily
One of the main challenges of leadership is balancing your time between all the disparate priorities you have to deal with on any given day. It’s the same problem any schoolteacher faces – how can you easily divide your time to nurture thirty students who may not all be learning at the same level? A business manager or leader can have a similar problem.
This is where exploring how cutting-edge technological and software solutions, including industry-specific measures such as HVAC software, can empower you as a business leader. From streamlined communication tools to AI-driven analytics, it’s important to research and embrace the kind of innovation you need to employ.
That doesn’t mean you should just integrate new tools because you can, but if you find an option that works for you, such as outsourcing your value to certain necessary outcomes, you may be fully surprised at the results.
Hold Yourself To Strict Professional Standards
It’s easy to think of professional discipline as a drag, after all, ask any lawyer if he’d like to work through his daily paperwork wearing jogger bottoms and a comfortable t-shirt instead of his fitted suit, and he’d no doubt feel tempted.
But on the other hand, discipline and professional standards give you more than they take. It’s like how a daily schedule might seem restrictive, but actually, it allows you to attend to much more on any given day, and that in itself is a form of freedom. Establishing clear benchmarks and unwavering expectations for yourself sets the tone for a culture of accountability within your leadership sphere, and that expresses itself outwards in the best possible way.
Begin by defining your core values and professional ethics. Outline specific goals that align with your vision, ensuring they are measurable and have a dignified impact on your leadership. If you do this, you not only look like a leader, but you start feeling like one too. Never discount the value of that kind of self-respect, because after all, how can you expect a team to respect you if you fail to give it to yourself? That kind of approach is not only rewarding, it’s incredibly healthy.
…But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
With all we’ve discussed above, you may think you have to act as one serious customer to make any sort of headway in leadership. Sure, you definitely shouldn’t act like a Michael Scott character, trying to be best friends with everyone in the room. All this does is blur the line between boss and friend, staff would much prefer to trust you than to think you’re a best friend. After all, even they know discipline is sometimes necessary if correctly handled.
That said, it’s highly important to recognize that leadership is a continuous learning process, and mistakes are vital to growth. Cultivate a workplace culture that encourages open communication and constructive feedback, even if that means disagreeing with you. The ability to laugh at oneself and acknowledge imperfections fosters an environment where people feel at ease, even when they know how professional you are, and expect them to be.
When you strike that balance you can become a vital part of the team as opposed to a jockey whipping a horse, which in 2024 is what many people expect of their leaders. We would give the caveat that this is a hard balance to strike, but it’s actually quite simple, just let your natural humanity and humility shine through. If you couple that with responsibility, you’ll have shown all the virtues of an effective leader, and empowered yourself by being your natural self.
With this advice, you’re sure to empower yourself as a business leader in the best possible way.