Think about leaders you’ve known, worked for or collaborated with that really impressed you. How did they lead and what did you love about them? Leading with power and grace can be demonstrated and modeled in numerous ways.
Certainty is sexy! Compassion is calming.
Feeling certainty and compassion from a person in power can allow you to feel…secure, relaxed, and empowered to take action.
By contrast, think of leaders you’ve known or worked for that were difficult to win over. One who was verbally abusive (screamer, pounded fists on the desk), one you could never seem to please no matter what you did. One who didn’t support or listen to you, seemed to have the knife in your back on a daily basis. Maybe you didn’t find out for awhile because they were not honest with you.
Dishonesty is disgraceful, disrespectful, hurtful and dis-empowering.
In the midst of the contrast, have you noticed that you often learn more from the person who wasn’t a great leader? I remember my early days in consulting as a road warrior, there was a project manager who ruled with an iron fist, and daily I learned things I vowed never to do. It makes a big impression!
You lead every day.
Whether you hold a “leadership” position at work or not, you lead daily.
You lead your family, your kids, your neighbors, your community, your social relationships and more.
You are always leading, modeling behavior that others watch, absorb and will make judgments about whether to emulate or not.
Are you the type of leader you want to follow?
If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know I’m an avid sports fan.
The past two weeks I’ve been enjoying the US Open Tennis tournament, and the rise of USA players for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Part of why I love sports is because there is such a demonstrative display of mindset and attitude.
How do the players respond under pressure?
How do they react when they are losing?
Are they good at problem solving?
Are they resilient, or do they cave to the competition and circumstances?
I was baffled by a post-match interview I read this week.
In the previous round a female player from Latvia, Ms. Ostapenko defeated the world #1 (Iga Swiatek) with an impressive display of power.
The next match she lost to Coco Gauff, the 19 year-old rising start from the USA.
She didn’t just lose, she got a beat down!
In her press conference, she blamed the schedule of when she played, she said the “score was a lie,” and she even had the audacity to say “she expected more from Coco,” who cleaned the floor with her.
I shook my head, it’s so ungracious.
She isn’t #1 in the world, she is #21 (Coco, who beat her is #6).
Losing and whining isn’t powerful or gracious…there is nothing engaging about Diva behavior (to me).
You lost, give credit to your opponent. You got your ass kicked!
It’s not about you this time.
Everyone at the tournament deals with the schedule, the temperature, the delays (last night environmental protestors caused a 45 minute delay mid-set).
As a leader you can model behavior for others to follow, by choosing:
1 – NOT to make excuses
2 – NOT to blame others
3 – NOT to be defensive
The powerful and graceful way to model what leadership is:
1 – Admit when you’re wrong, own your mistakes and learn from them
2 – Celebrate the success of those around you
3 – Above all, have a laugh and let people know you’re human.
That’s the best medicine, being approachable, human and not so uptight that you can’t have a laugh at your “fail.”
Just last week, I had one of those moments.
I was driving back from running leadership sessions on-site at a client.
My phone rang and my client asked if I was still holding the make-up session I scheduled at 11 am (it was 11:20).
In my rush to get home and check on my newly rescued pups, I did a total space cadet move, had a blonde moment…all I could do was admit to having foggy rescue dog brain.
And admit that I’m still human.
We rescheduled and met this week. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. Next!
What if you decided to:
Be more honest and authentic.
Care about others.
Listen – Actively.
…Put down your device(s) when you are having a conversation or in a meeting.
STOP multi-tasking! Your brain isn’t wired for it.
…It takes an average of ~25 minutes to get back on task every time you are distracted by the text message, the email, the chat message, the social media bleep. (Study from UC Irvine, Gloria Mark)