In my 25 years of business, I’ve led many people, built tribes and worked alongside some incredible business leaders. Leadership is like climbing a mountain. If you want people to follow you, you have to be climbing right there with them. You have to support each other along the way and when you reach the summit, enjoy the success together.
I’m often asked about my leadership style as it’s quite unique. I’ve never had a day job and I’ve not worked in corporate, so I don’t have a standard understanding of what a great leader should be like. Therefore, the underlying basis for great leadership in my mind, is to lead people in the same way I like to be led.
Understand who they are and what they value
My team are my second family. They’re people with lives and sometimes, life interferes. As a leader, being understanding and supportive when life throws them a curveball is just as important as leading them when they’re working. Empathy is your biggest gift here. If you can lead with empathy, they’ll give you the same when you need it.
Get to know your team and learn what’s important to them. If they have a particular interest in something try and weave that into their role. For example, if they have a love for art, put them on a project that requires an artistic eye. If they love travel, get them to arrange your travel itinerary. Better yet… build travel into their role. You’ll find that your team will be a lot more motivated and enjoy their role so much more.
It’s okay to show vulnerability
I have met leaders who feel that they can’t show emotion or vulnerability. I think this is sad. We’re all human and we all experience difficult times in our lives. Being able to share that with your team and ask them for help, gives them permission to feel vulnerable as well. It’s all about being a support for each other and holding each other up when life throws you a curve ball.
It’s exhausting trying to be someone or something you’re not. Being yourself means your being authentic. The true you is always better than the version people think you are. Be consistently you, so you’ll attract people who share the same values and interests as you.
This is one of my favourite leadership qualities. I LOVE decisive people. I find it incredibly exciting when your yes means yes and your no means no. There’s nothing more fascinating to me than a person who says what they mean and means what they say.
Be mindful of who you listen to
Everyone has an opinion and many people will gladly offer it if you let them. I don’t create the space for it. However, I do listen to the opinion of those who I have given permission to do so. I hold myself accountable to my advisors and mentors and they know that if I need to hear something, they have permission to say it as it is. My personal and professional growth hinges on it.
Leave a trail of goodwill
A simple handwritten thank you note, a message of appreciation, or an introduction costs nothing and can leave a huge impression. If you think something nice about someone say it. Don’t keep it to yourself. A 90 year old lady once complimented me. I thanked her and said it doesn’t happen as much as it used to. She then said “Ludwina, I’d rather sprinkle rose petals on you while you’re alive, then wait until you’re dead.” If you’re thinking nice things about someone, put some air behind your thoughts and turn them into words!
Multitasking reduces your IQ!
Life as an entrepreneur will have you working on high level tasks and boring mundane tasks all in the same day requiring different parts of your brain power. However, don’t do two things at once. Be focused and don’t fall into the trap of multitasking. It reduces your IQ by around 10 points and you won’t be as focused or productive as you’d like to be.
There’s always more than one possible outcome
When you’re working through a problem or difficult situation, there’s always more than one way to tackle it. Find as many solutions as possible and then work out which is the best route to take. If you can, sleep on it. The additional time will often make a huge difference.
Make time for a hobby or passion that has nothing to do with work
For me, it’s art. In my spare time I like to dig deep into my creative side. Exploring this part of myself also helps me in business. Painting relaxes my mind which sometimes helps in solving complex business challenges.
Get a good night’s sleep, every night
I’m serious! Sleep is the best thing a leader can have. It cures almost everything! It improves your thinking, you’re more patient and your ability to focus will be at a higher level. It will also reduce stress and we can all do with less stress!
Maintain your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing
Your body and mind are the most important tools for successful leadership. If you’re not operating at your optimum level than everything else will start to fall down around you. Know when your body and mind are not functioning well and do something about it. Go for a walk, drink more water or call a friend. Whatever you need to do, do it.
Resilience is a well oiled machine
Resilience is a well oiled machine that I exercise on a daily basis. I note all the times I have been resilient as it reminds me of what I’m capable of. It helps me to pay attention to all the moments in my life, big or small, where I overcame something. Leadership is like Climbing a Mountain Click To Tweet
They become my reference points I go to when I need to be reminded of how strong I am.
This article was originally published in parts on Team Women Australia