Leadership From Within by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
There are a number of different leadership styles, schools of thought, and even leadership models or frameworks. It may seem like every business school or business expert recommends a different structure for developing and honing leadership skills and abilities.
However, at the heart of all effective leaders is the ability to tap into their own humanity. The best leaders are able to set metrics and key performance indicators for their teams and themselves, but they are also able to relate to those individuals on a very human level.
Humanity is the ability to recognize and to respond to other people and situations in the world in a way that is respectful, authentic, and creates a sense of connection with others. It includes the characteristics of kindness, empathy, forgiveness, sympathy, and even mercy. How leaders are able to incorporate this humanity into their leadership style helps to mold and model how teams interact with each other and how managers and employees work together.
One of the greatest gifts a leader shares with teams and the workplace is the ability to model the desired behavior. In the past, leadership was often seen as a top-down experience, where the leader’s behavior was more in keeping with the “do what I say, not what I do” school of thought.
Today’s leader must lead by example to retain quality employees. This means comfort in expressing vulnerability, kindness, and compassion to others if those are traits the leader expects the team to embrace.
Look for the Positives
Leaders can either focus on the accomplishments, positive choices, and progress made by their employees, or they can focus on mistakes, missed opportunities, and problems. The result is a very different relationship and culture within a workplace.
Leading with humanity allows managers to recognize and focus on the positives and respond to errors, oversights, or performance issues. Using compassion and understanding in leadership is not about accepting lower quality performance but rather about lifting people up so they strive to do their best.
Tapping into your inner resilience is another aspect of modeling exceptional leadership behavior that comes from within. Accepting that bad things happen and making the necessary changes to move forward from the experience is a positive for any leader.
Being resilient also allows a leader to accept a mistake, including their own mistake, and use it as a learning experience. By taking the responsibility for both the failure as well as correcting the problem, the leader is able to model the ideal behavior for the workplace for future issues and challenges.
Humility is at the heart of the servant leadership style. It focuses on the human side of the business to create success for all, not just for the recognition of the management and leadership team.