The idea that what we do at work should fill not only our bank accounts, but also our hearts, is gaining momentum. We are seeing this demand more and more often with our clients as an increasing number of smart and eager employees look for meaning in their careers.
It is a big ask – especially if you are a leader. Not only do you need to give your employees tasks to perform, you also need to help them find meaning in their work in order for them to be motivated and engaged.
When people get disengaged at work they, in some cases, end up loathing what they do, creating a bad work environment and even sabotaging their own work. It is hard to be a good leader if things are like that.
Future leaders want to know that what they are doing at work can have a lasting impact on their customers, community and society at large. This is the new reality and the very landscape that keeps A-list employees motivated and engaged.
Let us share with you 6 tips to meet this meaningful challenge that will also make your life as a modern leader easier:
1) Accept the fact that no one is born a leader. Many leaders we talk to think they know ALL they need to know about leadership, at the stage they are at right now. This attitude will cause them a lot of trouble later on, as they fall behind compared to the leaders who focus on updating their leadership skills. Warren Bennis, a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies, even said: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
Start by doing this: Leadership is not static knowledge. When everything around us changes, it is smart to look at leadership as a set of skills in constant need of upgrade.
2) Being a good LEADER is also about being a good LEARNER. Leadership skills are developed over time. They are based on your experiences working with people in good and effective ways, supported by methods and tools that you have learned how to use.
Start by doing this: Work on your own attitude for learning. Make sure you stay in a constant mode of learning. Look around. Where can you pick up knowledge from others? You might not have time to go back to school (and it might not even be right for you), but you will always have time to learn something new. Listen, read, and take a course now and then. Be conscious about learning new techniques, methods and tools. But the most important thing of all is to start practicing what you learn. Let it become a natural part of your own leadership. Not only will you become a better leader yourself, but you will also show people around you what good leadership is all about.
3) Know the purpose of why you are doing what you are doing. Being a leader is about creating results through working with others. Just as others look for purpose in what they do, so should you.
Start by doing this: Start with the WHY. Why do you want to be a leader? When you define this clearly, then you will start to be a leader by heart. And that will make you a stronger person because you will always know the “why” in what you do.
4) Embrace change. According to journalist Graeme Wood “change will never be this slow again.” He is probably right. Everything is evolving at an accelerated speed. The last thing you should do is fight it. You will lose.
Start by doing this: Be curious about change. Learn why change is so hard for most people, and how you can help people embrace change instead of fearing it. Also, too many leaders demand change from people on their teams, but forget that they need to change themselves. Make it your mission to go outside your own comfort zone in order to evolve. Do not fear the unknown.
5) You are not alone. There is a proven concept that WE is smarter than ME. In today’s complex and fast-moving world, the best chance anyone has of success is by collaborating. If you manage to create a collective intelligent genius out of your team, you will have a far better chance of winning than if you lead a team with geniuses working individually. But most importantly, don’t fall in to the habit of thinking that YOU – the leader – need to solve the challenges ahead, alone.
Start by doing this: Practice involving leadership. Learn some effective methods and processes for involvement. These methods and their results can eliminate chaos and its negative effects. Remember – your role is to create that collective genius. And the way to do this is through involvement.
6) Let your team in on your ambitions. Let it be known that what you do is not only your goal, but also the team’s goal.
Start by doing this: Spend time together with your team working on your ambitions and actions that will lead in that direction. In that way, everyone involved can work towards fulfilling these goals with both their brain and their heart. And THIS will give life at work meaning for everyone – filling up not only their bank accounts, but also their hearts.
Why is being a modern leader so important?
Remember – Being a good leader is one of the most important jobs there is. The reason is that you have an impact on the people around you, yourself and your family, and ultimately the environment you live in. Being a good leader is about making a difference.