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Revealed: How to Be a Great Leader That Everyone Wants to Follow

Revealed: How to Be a Great Leader That Everyone Wants to Follow

They say that good leaders are born, not made. But no matter how great a leader we think we are, we can all stand to foster and improve our leadership and management skills from time to time. Here are 10 of the very best qualities that will help propel you into great leader status, all backed up by some of the most trusted leaders in business.

Time Is Never Wasted on Listening to Others.

“Resonance – this is one of the lowest rated qualities in leaders and one of the most needed in business today. It’s how we connect with people and make them feel understood. Resonant leaders are attentive and attuned to the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others. They take time to watch, listen and absorb what is said and unsaid.”

~ Suzanne Bates, CEO, Bates Communications[1]

“I find that the key to great leadership is time commitment dedicated to the people side. Business flies so fast and it is very easy to see days and weeks be absorbed by projects and deadlines, but at the end of the day, the true quality of performance and career satisfaction comes from the growth and commitment from the team. To do this effectively, leaders must meticulously review and prioritize their time. I expect all of my direct reports to map out the week tactically, strategically, while being mindful to set aside the time to foster strong relationships and company/team commitment.”

~ Shawn Bushouse, EVP, Chief Financial Officer, J Skinner Baking[2]

Feedback Is the Shortcut to a Better Team.

“Understand how they want to grow their careers and take time to coach them, giving ongoing feedback (BOTH positive and improvement feedback) to help them get there. This will also help inform what you delegate to whom. Know what your team members value as individuals – is it autonomy? Recognition? Collaboration? Challenge? Then do your best to provide these things.”

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~ Rebecca Zucker, Partner, Next Step Partners[3]

No One’s Left Behind. Involvement Is Indiscriminate.

“I had a great mentor in my first manager, who showed me that it’s not only alright to share your thought processes and mistakes, but that this is key to building a successful team. There are so many choices to be made when you’re building a business and, by sharing your approach with co-workers, you’re empowering them to more clearly understand your company vision and develop their own skills.”

~ Rashmi Melgiri, COO and Co-Founder, CoverWallet[4]

“I have a staff retreat every year off site with my staff, where we work on our goals for the next year. We mix the day up with fun stuff and serious stuff. After the retreat, the staff creates a chart to track our goals on a weekly basis and they update it. Then throughout the year, I meet with each staff member individually and talk about how we are doing. I try to make at least one of those meetings a casual lunch meeting.”

~ Edrie A. Pfeiffer, Managing Attorney, Hampton Roads Legal Services[5]

Always Be Gracious And Grateful.

“Say please and thank you – a lot, and authentically. Teams that are appreciated outperform those that don’t by incredible margins. Just saying please and thank you goes a long way to helping your team understand you appreciate them.”

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~ Lee Caraher, Author[6]

Interactivity Is the Key to Bringing Everyone Together.

“Great leaders are great communicators. Communication should be a two way process: you should be able to relay clear instructions to your team but also listen attentively and responsively to all that they say.”

~Helen Smith, Community Manager, Mature Berkshire Dating[7]

“Interactivity – this is the art of fostering a deeply active, conversational style of dialogue that puts people at ease and enables them to speak up and feel heard. You have to use the right channels, communicate with the right cadence and frequency, and of course not rely too much on written communication.”

~ Suzanne Bates, CEO, Bates Communications[8]

Power Is Shared Among Everyone, Not on a Single Person.

“I feel empowerment and encouragement goes a long way, making team members feel their value to the overall mission of the team and it’s continued success. By empowering our team members and trusting them, we see our team members rise to the occasion, elevate themselves, and feel pride in what they’re achieving on a daily basis.”

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~ Steve Ryan, Founder & CEO, RyTech, LLC[9]

There Is Always Wise Words from Others.

“Being the leader doesn’t always mean that you’re the authority, and that’s coming from an owner of a company. There are instances where details are missed out. I always make it an effort to give every member within my team a chance to speak up during our internal meetings. I’d like to believe that they appreciate having the opportunity to pitch and implement their ideas and approaches for our clients. It builds a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect, and when there’s trust in any given relationship, they will have no qualms about following you into the abyss.”

~ Aaron Lin, Managing Director, Ignitive[10]

With a Clear Aim, No One Goes Astray.

“In order to form your team into a united front working together towards a common goal, it’s important that the team understands your vision as the team leader. By having the ability to inspire your team, you are giving them a better understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing. You’re giving them a sense of purpose, a clear motivation to strive for success. This inspiration will help you work better together as you are all aware and on board with the vision.”

~ Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO, SD Equity Partners[11]

Responsibility Delegation Is the Way to Unleash the Team’s Full Potential.

“Many bosses have a “I’ll just do it myself” mentality. Just because you’re a boss does not mean you’re a leader. By taking on all the work, you’re preventing your team from demonstrating their true potential. A great leader trusts in their team and demonstrates this trust by giving their team more responsibility. When you give your team members an opportunity to excel, more often than not you will be surprised at what they can achieve. Trust in your team, and they will succeed.”

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~ Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO, SD Equity Partners[12]

Feedback Builds Trust and Enables Continuous Improvement.

“Often times this feedback comes from others through reviews – I still ask all of my people for feedback. Being open and honest builds trust within a team, helps me improve and makes real our promise that we all seek continuous improvement.”

~Dick Burke, CEO, Envoy Global[13]

Being Respectful Isn’t Just An Etiquette.

“Something to always remember is to always talk respectfully about members of your team, whether they are present in the room with you or not. Be transparent at all times and do not go behind people’s backs. This will ensure that all members of the team feel safe and happy about working in the team.”

~ Jason Dobson, Berkshire Dating[14]

Now you are ready to lead your team with trust, confidence, strength and compassion. A great leader has a mix of qualities; they are not superhuman, but rather people who are able to connect with members of their teams on a compassionate and human level, whilst also maintaining discipline and authority at all times.

Reference

[1] BatesCommunication: Home
[2] SkinnerBaking: Home
[3] NextStepPartners: Home
[4] CoverWallet: Home
[5] HamptonRoadsLegalServices: Home
[6] LeeCaraher: Home
[7] MatureBerkshireDating: Home
[8] BatesCommunication: Home
[9] RyTechLLC: Home
[10] Ignitive: Home
[11] SDEquityPartners: Home
[12] SDEquityPartners: Home
[13] EnvoyGlobal: Home
[14] BerkshireDating: Home

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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