James Kendrick’s January article The Right Leadership got me thinking about how being a better leader personally can lead to a better professional leadership style. He had linked leadership to informal learning and had rejected a “one-size-fits-all” approach to leadership development, which speak to leadership skills outside of the office.
Successful leaders draw on their personal skills and use them to:
1. Put relationships first. They make time for their colleagues and associates, and they nurture the connections they make. It takes time and energy to do this, but building a real relationship is the greatest form of encouragement that a leader can give. Genuine interest shows care, which fosters growth.
2. Focus on what is meaningful. The best leaders are always personally engaged in their work, and it shows. They figure out how their life’s work fits into the broader, more significant context, and channel that passion.
3. Lead with their strengths. It takes personal fortitude to clearly see what is strongest, and weakest, about you and your team. They know their strengths and invest in them.
4. Manage pessimism. Great leaders don’t let themselves be overcome by bumps in the road or spend time that they don’t have worrying. What this comes down to is personal grit and a belief that “this too shall pass.” Worries and failure are compartmentalized because an adversity in one area of life does not mean a personal failure.
5. Manage their energy. Leaders understand that time management is essential to getting anything done. Taking a personal break is easier and more effective than facing a professional burnout.