Good leaders don’t put their role on pause when things get hard, because leadership is most important when life gets hard.
Whether you see yourself as a leader or not, you are. I guarantee you that your actions and reactions have made impressions on other people, and possibly even influenced them to react or act a certain way. Being aware of your actions and doing the best you can during tough times is extremely important.
Why? When sh”t hits the fan, people instantly look to their leaders for guidance. Even if people don’t physically reach out for help or advice, they’re still observing your actions.
So how do we remain a positive influence on people? By demonstrating courage and resilience. If you’re demonstrating courage, it gives people comfort. If you’re constantly saying that things will be okay (without question), people will start believing it. And if you’re demonstrating resilience and strength to take on the hard things, it inspires other people to do the same.
Okay, so how do we demonstrate courage and resilience?
Don’t pour from an empty cup. You have to focus on you before you’re able to contribute to others. Your energy speaks for you, so people will notice when you are faking it. Make sure that your feelings are processed, and your words have been thought through before they are said.
Do not respond out of emotion. As I said before, process and think before you speak. If you’re angry, sad, or scared – you’re most likely going to act out of in the moment emotion. On the other hand, if you wait a while and take time to process things and respond with care, you’ll most likely say something much more appropriate.
Communicate well and often. Silence can speak volumes. Face conflict, address the hard topics, and have uncomfortable conversations. You not speaking on topics that need to be acknowledged shows where your priorities are, and that will have an impact on others.
Hold people accountable. We learned in elementary school that if we see something wrong, we need to do something about it. Stop putting your ego, reputation, or the need to please others first. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and acknowledge how they probably feel. If you’d want someone to help you if you were in their situation, be that person for them. Stop letting it slide.
Hold yourself responsible for your own actions. Again, just like we learned in elementary school, If you’ve done something wrong – apologize. We all mess up, so be willing to admit when you were out of line. And once you’ve apologized, let someone know how you intend to take responsibility and do better next time.
Be there for others. Be a support system for your people. Check in on them, offer yourself as a resource, go out of your way to offer help, etc. Look after everyone as you would look after your best friend. If everyone gave that kind of love and care, we’d be in a much better place.
Have a vision for the future. What kind of changes do you want to see in the future? What can we be doing better? What do we need to quit? Once you have that vision, you need to have a plan for how you can embody that image for everyone else and encourage them to do the same.
Lead by example. You can’t tell people to do something that you aren’t doing yourself. You have to practice what you preach. If you want change, it change starts with you.
If you take away anything from this post, remember that every action you take will affect and inspire someone else’s decisions. What kind of impression do you want to leave?