(By Glenn Llopis)
“Leaders must objectively assess how to better commit themselves to their role and responsibilities. They need to be willing to break themselves apart – their natural tendencies, behaviors and how they approach people – those things that over time may lose their impact, and that everyone is paying attention to, often more closely than they are themselves. Leadership is about being proactive and responsibly experimental, and that means continually testing your ideas and ideals.“
Most leaders in today’s workplace could use a fresh start. They are struggling with the new demands that are being placed upon them; these include: how to lead the changing demographic shift, how to keep doing more with less, and how to execute with the required speed as the marketplace continues to evolve and reinvent itself. In order to refresh your leadership style, it will require you to give yourself a reality check. Are you made to lead in today’s uncertain times? Do you have the right attitude, executive presence and mental toughness? Are you mature enough to endure and do you have the required willpower to stay in the race?
Refreshing your leadership style is a serious commitment to those you serve and your organization. First of all, you shouldn’t wait for your employer to demand a refresh. If you are a good leader, you must continually reinvent yourself along the way. Secondly, you should know where your leadership gaps lie and be courageous and wise enough to find ways to close those gaps. Finally, you should not go at this process alone. Though you are ultimately accountable to take action, it is imperative for you to reach out to your peers, colleagues, clients whom you can be transparent with – anyone who experiences your leadership every day – and ask them to respond to the following three questions about your leadership style:
- What Must You Keep Doing?
- What Must You Stop Doing?
- What Must You Start Doing?
Leaders must objectively assess how to better commit themselves to their role and responsibilities. They need to be willing to break themselves apart – their natural tendencies, behaviors and how they approach people – those things that over time may lose their impact, and that everyone is paying attention to, often more closely than they are themselves. Leadership is about being proactive and responsibly experimental, and that means continually testing your ideas and ideals.
For example, I am accountable to a personal brand advisory board. Every quarter, they evaluate my personal brand across an array of different categories. One of these is my leadership style.Amongst many variables, they measure my leadership style impact, influence and types of leaders and organizations that naturally gravitate towards me (where there appears to be a natural alignment of values and personalities). My leadership style has been defined as entrepreneurial, one that is constantly identifying opportunities and connecting the dots along the way. To certain types of leaders and organizations, this can be intimidating and uncomfortable – while to others it is inspiring, exciting, innovative and hopeful.
I ‘ve learned that your leadership style must be in optimal alignment with the workplace culture, people, brand and organization that you serve – in order for your contributions to create maximum impact and your influence to stimulate continuous growth and profitability. Unfortunately for many leaders, they get stuck within the confines of an organization with a workplace culture that has grown complacent and/or has lost their ability to effectively lead. Does this sound familiar?
To assure that you stay on the right track, here are five ways to refresh your leadership style before you begin to lose momentum in your career:
1. Find Out What Your Style is Missing
The most effective leaders know what is required of them for the business to grow and flourish. Those leaders that need a leadership style refresh are not engaging enough with those around them to really know what’s potentially missing from their repertoire.
Take the time to undercover your leadership gaps by asking questions. Allow your colleagues and peers to express their concerns. This is the best way for you to discover what’s missing and for you to see opportunities for growth that were previously unseen. Admit mistakes and hold yourself accountable. Observe the reactions and attitude of others as you refresh your leadership style. Leadership can only be evaluated by those who are experiencing it.
What matters most to those you serve? Are you missing any required skill-sets and competencies? In what situations has your leadership style faltered?
2. Review Your Reputation
Leaders don’t pay enough attention to their reputations. I am not talking about your Klout score, Google relevancy or what you perceive to be your social media impact. You must understand how others value your leadership well beyond social media – as this is only a part of the equation.
What is it about your leadership style that may rub people the wrong way? Do you need to overcome a history of negativity that you may not be aware of?
A simple exercise is to ask yourself: What types of people do you gravitate towards? Are these the types of people that you desire to be connected with? Reputation is a subjective thing and a lot of it has to do with the types of people you associate with and how they influence your leadership style.
As I recently wrote about, the content you read shapes how you lead. Are you reading content that will help you strengthen your reputation and how others experience you? If so, does your leadership style deliver a positive or negative experience? Do you have strong enough relationships at work to get honest answers to these difficult questions?
The only way to manage your reputation is to assure that what you seek to accomplish as a leader is in in direct proportion and alignment with what others expect of you. When you are in misalignment, you are at risk of a negative reputation. Never allow others to control your reputation narrative. If they are envious of you, don’t respect you enough or don’t know you well enough to speak truthfully about you, your reputation will suffer.
3. Do You Fit or Are You Acting the Part?
Many times a refresh to your leadership style simply requires you to evaluate whether or not you fit within the organization and with the people you are serving. Too many times leaders battle the gulf between assimilation and authenticity. Instead of just being who they naturally are, they decide to act the part and be more of what others demand of them.
I see this in the workplace more often than I would like. Leaders can’t reach their full potential when they are trying too hard to appease the agendas of others rather than being themselves. When you act the part, you are not allowing others to truly evaluate your authentic leadership style. In fact, when you are merely acting the part, you are not being responsible to the organization nor are you deserving of the salary you are being paid. Remember, you were hired to consistently deliver results and that is difficult when you are not being your authentic self.
Stop hiding behind the truth. Your leadership style must be able to “fit-in” where you work or it will be an uphill battle that you will eventually regret. Don’t waste time and start having fun as a leader again. When you do, your leadership style will flourish.
4. Create a Personal Brand Advisory Board
You cannot grow as a leader if you are not committed to continually learn and improve. To stay on track, assemble a personal brand advisory board of mentors (outside of your organization) that you can trust enough to share your stories with and from whom you can receive honest feedback. This becomes paramount when you have made the decision to develop your personal brand as a leader. Without third-party feedback, you might be missing opportunities to mature as a leader. A personal brand advisory board also can make you aware of any disruptions your leadership style may be causing – so that you can hold yourself accountable and ultimately responsible for your actions as a leader.
If you have yet to define your personal brand as a leader, then it will be difficult for your leadership style to flourish. Remember, your leadership style will be original only if it represents how you most naturally think, act, innovate and treat others.
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