Thanks to the 24/7 news cycle and social media, leaders are now playing a different game and being held to a higher level of accountability than ever before. If there was any question as to whether leaders can successfully fly under the radar and go unnoticed, the beginning of 2020 has produced a very definitive answer for us. No, they cannot.
Throughout the early stages of 2020, both good and bad leadership is being exposed. And when it comes to high-profile leaders and crises, suddenly, the whole world joins in with their opinions, criticism and well-meaning advice. To be completely honest, I’m unsure how helpful this all is coming from the sidelines, but we can’t deny that it happens consistently these days – in small and large organisations, political circles and even in our own households.
People have debated the most important leadership qualities for years. Honesty, integrity, a positive mindset, strategy and planning, the ability to inspire others, good communication, transparency, delegation, innovation… the list goes on. However, I firmly believe that self-leadership remains critical. Being self-aware and having the ability to demonstrate courage, whilst building and maintaining all of the various moving parts around you and retaining people’s trust, is no easy feat. The best leaders commit to what they say they will do and demonstrate their vision each day – even when they don’t feel motivated!
Think about the best leaders you’ve had over the course of your career. We’ll all likely agree that it is wonderful to work alongside a great leader. We’ve all had them at some point or if you’re lucky, you’re currently working with a wonderful leader as you read this. The best leaders motivate us to walk to the very edge with them, to sweat with them, cry with them. They’re the rare people who make us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves and to contribute to something that we can be truly proud of. These leaders stop those all-too-familiar clock watchers and people we know are simply ‘going through the motions’ in the office, dead in their tracks. They make people across the entire organisation care.
Leadership isn’t easy.
Anyone who’s ever tried to lead a team of people knows just how difficult quality leadership is. You can be great at what you do and excel within your expertise but that doesn’t necessarily make you a great leader. Time and time again, I hear about people who are acing every part of their role being promoted internally to a leadership position, without any adequate training or guidance, and failing to deliver as a leader. They soon learn that good leaders make their job look easy but in reality, leading well certainly isn’t easy.
If good leadership begins with self-leadership, what does that mean for you in 2020? It means it’s time to have an honest check-in with yourself. Some of the best questions to ask yourself during the early stages of this year include:
Over the years, I have studied leadership, led countless people and read just about every leadership book out there. Whilst people continue reinventing ways to look at leadership, if you ask me, the fundamentals of good leadership have not changed at all (and they are unlikely to over time). And remember, just as the best athletes in the world draw upon the expertise of numerous coaches who specialise in their field, many professionals reach out for help to fine-tune their leadership. Get in touch if you’re ready to take your leadership to the next level.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals whilst supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au