Leaders are the ones in charge, those who through either hard work or luck have found a seat at the head of a table. This happens to be anyone with a creative idea and the will to make it happen. We need vision and determination for any truly novel idea to surface. After-all, we want to improve lives, create jobs, and improve the wealth of where we live. That's what counts. We can't just go about doing these things though. To be in with a chance of succeeding a good leader can communicate their passion and resolve to those who join them. People who share our vision look to leaders to help them put their mind into motion. We know what we want, we might know how to get it, do we know how to communicate it?
Great Leaders Are Compassionate
Compassion means that we put other people's happiness into the equation. It means we consider other people's feelings and peace of mind before we act. It could be a warning sentence, preparing people for something unpopular, or perhaps you hold your emotions back just for a moment because you don't want to upset anybody. You might ask about military leaders. Was Alexander the Great compassionate? There will always be exceptions however to inspire troops, nationals, and financiers, he would have had to make sure everyone was happy or at least willing. Most of the time, leaders are not in charge of a fighting army.
When leaders are compassionate, those being led are made to feel secure that their well-being is being looked after. If a leader shows a lack of compassion then the team will be less willing to act on the leader's instruction. They will lose respect for their thinking and ideas, and ultimately become a less effective force. Leaders instil a sense of safety in their groups.
Great Leaders Show Selflessness
Selflessness is when we put our immediate needs and desires to one side and think about things from another's point of view. It inspires acts of generosity and courage. When we are selfless we do things for others without the element of benefiting the self. Business is not selfless, but leaders in business can be. By treating people in the way you would expect to be treated those same people will gain trust and respect in return. You've earned it, and if it's genuine selflessness you won't risk losing it.
We are all limited by the speed of our process of thought. Like light can only travel so far in such a given time, our enlightenment and understanding of a situation takes time too. We can only be asked to learn so much and grow so far in one given time. It may be that several steps are needed to reach a level we need. Selflessness can recognise this and even though we have the understanding, the others may not and so has no problem in breaking down the process of thought for them.
Great Leaders Are Mindful
There is a difference between imaginary mindfulness and the mindfulness that steps over the gap when boarding the train. Leaders show the latter. They don't spend their time with their head in a story-book or a daydream thinking of all the colours and textures around them. They are mindful of the present moment and the emotional landscape of the time. Mindfulness helps leaders to truly gauge a situation and offer relevant and harmonious commentary. This way they can act as glue between otherwise opposing views and agendas.
Mindful leaders are able to listen to those around them and be able to provide insightful and thought-out responses to situations and questions. Teams know they are valued when their leadership makes an effort to put thought into the way their communication is expressed. Consideration with courage makes for an effective head, it's the ability to think from multiple perspectives and then to act on the one that has the best outlook.
When it comes to running a team or simply applying yourself to a task, motivation is a key factor in the process of getting things done. We can easily lose a lot of time if motivation isn't at a suitable level. We all need a little help sometimes, and in a work environment it's generally the leader or manager whose job it is to motivate. But how is it done? We've seen good and bad motivators, more than likely, and we've probably played the role of motivator well or not so well in the past too. There are four specific kinds of motivation that work well for different people and different situations. They are as follows.
This form of coaching involves giving clear instructions with a little bit of force behind them. You may think of a drill sergeant but this can also be applied to situations such as medicine, kitchens, police, and any other circumstance where people's lives are put at risk. It also works well for situations where there are many people all looking for instruction. We can address a crowded room with a direct approach. Warehouses, office floors, staff-rooms and other places with lots of workers in them apply here.
Often a team of individuals can work independently from control. It is often the case that everyone knows what they are doing and by simply being present in the situation, they will carry on with it. You being there is motivation enough to stick to the job they are meant to be doing. If you set a good example and carry on with your work, the team will follow. This is a common practice in smaller teams of workers whose job does not involve vital life and death processes like making sure chicken is thoroughly cooked. If workers can't see you because they are positioned too far away, the passive approach doesn't work so well. You will need to be more direct.
Sometimes an employee or friend will approach us with a problem or a request for something to do. Non-directive leadership requires the leader to question the individual and tease out the answer from their own ideas. By encouraging others to use their initiative and to be more relaxed about their ideas, leaders can get more out the team than they put in.
This style, like the name suggests, requires us to adapt to the shape we are in. Sometimes the people around us will not respond to the type of motivation we prefer or the rules suggest. From time to time we have to find a balance between all three leadership styles and personalise this for each team member. We are all unique individuals and this makes it important to listen to feedback and watch for cues that may require us to rethink our approach.
Find out more about Motivating Yourself and Your Team
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