By Selma Lalji Khamisa, MSc
As the face of global businesses change, leadership paradigms have the opportunity to follow suit. The traditional leadership paradigm utilized by the majority of global companies maintain many of the same characteristics – male dominated, focused on competition, with layers of employees within a pyramid, top-down structure.
But that doesn’t need to be the case moving forward. Organizations can be more diverse, female-led, innovative and creative. The case for connected, engaging leaders is compelling.
A ‘connected leader’ is one who holds him/herself in high regard. These leaders take their personal care and growth seriously, and understand that in order to develop as a person and to lead in a transformational way, they must first do the work – the inner work that lets them evolve into a better version of themselves (that can in turn profoundly captivate and influence others).
Here are 7 ways to begin to transform into a connected leader:
1. Find meaning
Ask yourself, what is important to me? What inspires me? Besides being driven by results and numbers, understanding what you derive meaning from drives your purpose. It will add vitality and life to the work that you do (and ensure that there are aspects of your role that relate to what you love to do).
2. Go within & observe
The case for this point is simple: a calm leader makes better decisions. Leaders rarely get the chance to step away and take stock. If you are constantly frenzied, you can lose sight of what is important. My advice is to find your own process to pause, take a deep breath and reflect. Once you find a way to do this, observe your relaxed thoughts and ideas.
3. Forgive yourself
In the end, you are only human. Do not let the weight of the world rest on your shoulders and stop you from progressing. Forgive yourself for past mistakes or shortcomings and look to the future. The practice of forgiveness allows you to be more mindful, self-aware and in control.
4. Connect to others
Be mindful not to lose touch with those who you lead. Connecting to others shows your employees that you care and value their experiences. Invest in real, enriching conversations with those from different areas of your company. A connected leader is approachable and encourages others (at all levels) to have their voices be heard.
If you do not nurture and care for yourself, why would anyone else want to follow in your footsteps? Saying you do not have time for yourself means that you do not value yourself enough to invest in replenishing your energy. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. A visionary leader cannot bring brilliant results if their judgement is clouded. Taking time to recharge is important.
6. Stop. Collaborate. And Listen.
Both with your intuition and the people who you lead. There are not enough leaders in the world that are guided by their intuition or trust their inner voice enough to make decisions based on that voice. Guidance from your intuition can lead you to greater creativity and allow you to change your course of actions – often for the better.
What’s more, a connected leader listens to and collaborates with those around them. This means that you are not threatened by the ideas and potential innovation that can be harnessed from the people around you.
7. Embrace change
There is no need to fear the possibility of things changing for the better. It takes courage to take a leap and try out a new course of action! Model resiliency within your organization and become a poster child for change – it will allow those you lead to seek out and embrace new ideas.