At Brilliant People we take personal leadership very seriously. We believe in leadership at all levels because everyone from the lowest level employee to the CEO has an important role to play in creating a positive and productive workplace culture. All are integral to the success of an organization. Although, most people equate being a leader with a position or title, we’d like to challenge you today to consider a different version of leading: leading in your whole life.
And we want to let you in on a little secret. Everyone has the capacity to do this. You just have to have the right mindset and be willing to step up to the plate to do the right thing. So what does this look like exactly?
Personal Leadership Evolution
First, you need to develop a growth mindset so that you can evolve. There is no revolution without an evolution, so develop a hunger for improving yourself. The reality is that leaders should never stop learning. It’s important to continuously try to become a better version of yourself, so spend time reading, researching and reaching out to others. This will help you learn new and better ways to do your job, and how you can better interact with others. This is critical to your leadership success because relationships are the backbone of great workplace culture. And, remember, being a leader “in your whole life” means it’s also critical with your pesonal connections.
The act of evolving also includes a heavy dose of self-reflection. It is important to understand how you truly show up at work and in the world at large. One easy way to accomplish this is to take a personality assessment. We like the Everything DiSC™ model for its reliability and validity. Being able to honestly acknowledge your personality struggles will help you map out the necessary steps to improve in those areas where you might be lacking.
Leading with Emotional Intelligence
EQ is the 2nd thing you should work hard to develop as a leader. EQ, or emotional intelligence, has gotten a lot of attention in the last several years, and for good reason. It’s basically the human ability to understand and regulate our own feelings and help others do the same when needed. This plays a huge part in whether we manage our relationships, or we let them manage us. And we’ve already stated just how important those relationships are to leadership success and the organizational culture as a whole. Taking steps toward a personal leadership mentality will improve your EQ, as well. The components of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Each one of these is a necessary part of any leader’s toolbox.
Personal Leadership (R)evolution
Third, be the change you want to see in the workplace. This is the revolution waiting to happen. For instance, standing up for what’s right, even if it’s not popular. Or, taking the lead when others won’t. It also means working hard, playing fair and trying every day to become a better you. It won’t be easy, but it’s so worth it because at the end of the day, you can feel really good about the work you’re doing on yourself and the ripple effect of that effort. It’s exponential.
Here’s a little visualization exercise that might help: Picture a group of people standing in a swimming pool at about 4’ deep. One person begins to walk in a circle, and creates a small whirlpool. People standing nearby in the water can feel the subtle pull of the current. When they begin to join the circle, they help create an even bigger current, and eventually others that join the group get swept up automatically in the pull of the current.
Now some currents can be dangerous. People can be swept out to sea in a rip tide or sucked under in a whirlpool. Neither outcome is good. Creating a current guided by honesty, integrity and passion draws others in who will follow your lead creating an even stronger pull. Eventually, the pull is strong enough to move everyone in a given direction. But, remember: just as the strength of that current can lead to a powerful positive force in your organization, it can also wreak havoc on company culture if led by the wrong intentions. This is where true leadership at all levels comes into play. If you see that your company’s current might be moving in the wrong direction, jump in and help alter that path. Even the slightest shift can make all the difference in the world.
Lead the Change
We like to say that “there is no “I” in team, but every team is made up of Individuals”, and it’s the responsibility of each individual to help create a thriving culture in their organization. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the org chart. In fact, that is irrelevant. What does matter is that you take the initiative to develop and exercise your own personal leadership ability. Don’t just sit back and assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility. Stand up and take action today because whether you realize it or not, others are always watching. They’re waiting to see whether or not it’s safe to get caught up in your current. So our challenge to you is this: be the change you want to see in the workplace by working on you. Personal leadership matters.
And if you’d like some help, we offer leadership development and emotional intelligence training. Call us to get started. After all, the Culture R(e)volution starts with you.
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