You’re a leader. Did you know that?
Sure, you may not be a team captain or a CEO, but I believe that everyone who inspires and motivates others to work towards a shared vision is in a position of leadership.
That means that if you’re a teacher, stay-at-home mom, college student, blogger, marketer (you get the gist), then you not only have an opportunity to lead; the world needs you to step into your sphere of influence in the way that no one else but YOU can. So now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you, the next question is one that I’ve give a lot of thought to in my own life: how can I be a more inspiring leader for the people I influence?
Over the last couple years, I’ve read the books, listened to the podcasts, and road-tested tons of different approaches, and I’ve narrowed my inspiring leadership advice to three main areas that have been most powerful in helping me step into my leadership role in a new way. Read on, and I’d love to hear about your own experiences with inspiring leaders in the comments: what was it that made them influential in your life?
image: outdoor voices
1. Become a servant leader.
Instead of walking into the office every morning looking for what my team can do for me, I try to turn the traditional hierarchy on its head by asking myself how I can support and uplift them.
I want to empower everyone on our team to be their best selves both in and out of the workplace. I see a cornerstone of my job as removing anything that might be a hindrance and doing what I can to set them up for success.
This may mean offering mentorship and advice, or it may mean holding them accountable to giving the effort and dedication required to be their best. It’s really all about the motivation and intent behind my actions, and when I step into this place of servant leadership, I can feel the entire energy in our office shift in a positive way.
2. Build trust – and have the tough convos.
Like many young women, I used to tiptoe around difficult conversations because I wasn’t sure how to handle them or was afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. The ironic thing is that when I avoided these talks in an effort to be “nice,” there was no way for my team to know if I was being authentic – which is a breeding ground for miscommunication and even resentment.
A couple of years ago, I hit a turning point when I decided to face challenges head on, and do my best to approach tough talks with humility, love, and total honesty. The result? My team knows that I care enough about them to shoot straight, that I have their best interests at heart, and there’s a clear vision for what’s expected in the future.
3. Always keep learning.
I love the Albert Einstein quote, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know,” and I think it’s particularly relevant in the growth of great leaders. When I really show up and get curious, there’s a natural enthusiasm that spreads to everyone else on my team. Whether we’re learning about email marketing tactics, a crazy new wellness trend, or the backstory of one of our interview subjects, our team is engaged, interested, and knows that we can always learn more.
The leaders who inspire me most are those who approach life with the awareness that innovation and inspiration often come from unlikely places.
They stay wide awake to life and inspire others to do the same.