As a leader, it’s your job to guide your team towards accomplishing specific and tangible goals. You may successfully reach those goals, but is your leadership style sustainable for both yourself and your team. Are you a fully engaged leader that maintains an acute awareness of both your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self and provide an environment in which your team can maintain that awareness? How do you take the first steps toward full engagement leadership and leave survival and reactive leadership behind?
The ‘Five Elements of Adventure’ are built upon the premise of full engagement leadership. When we examine our lives, personal and professional, from the lens of adventure: full engagement is the sum of our energy.
Do your daily actions reflect your personal values? Are your able to hold self awareness while simultaneously holding awareness of the teams health and functionality? Do you support team development that allows you to lead and guide, not react, implement, and micro-manage? What is the team and organizations response to your leadership style? Here are three tips to help evaluate and improve your effectiveness as a fully engaged leader.
Full Engagement: Leadership through the Storm
Connect and Communicate
Leading is relationship. A leader without trust and without an understanding of the team or individual members of a team isn’t a leader at all; and it’s a ticking time bomb before either the organization, project, or team members implode (sometimes all three at the same time). As a first step toward that full engagement leadership, leaders must learn to connect authentically with the team as a whole and individual members. This connection takes courage, vulnerability, honesty, and a willingness to allow influence from others. It takes strength.
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Building a personal connection with individual team members, and the team as a whole, is crucial to developing the trust necessary to build a culture of creativity, accountability and high performance. Allowing vulnerability, honesty, and interaction without hierarchy invites relationship and thereby invites collaboration and creation. Human beings, the team members who make up your team, thrive in a connected environment. Provide them this opportunity.
Highlight the Positive
The day-to-day, and sometimes the quarter, does not run smoothly and easily. We run into challenges, uncertainty, anxiety and compounding stressors frequently. Our tolerance for adversity, determines our ability to fully engage and remain present in the face of difficulty. The manner that we, as leaders, handle the adversity characterizes our style. In a sense, this is the lynchpin of leadership: how do you handle challenge and remain effective as a leader?
Kim Cameron, author of “Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance,” explains that leaders must not only lead individually with vision, they also must create a positive workplace environment. Cameron explains that leaders who engage their own unique personal values and a focus on the positive attributes of the team and project are able to enlist everyone within the organization to collectively perform positive practices that have a significant impact on both other team members as well as the end result.
It should be noted that Cameron’s model is one that is a positive feedback loop that simultaneously engages the individual and the team: Positive Practices at Work > Positive Effect > Positive Individual Behavior > Organizational Effectiveness.
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
How do you begin to implement positive practices at work? Today? Highlight whats working in a simple and frequent way. How simple? This simple: “What’s working // What’s not working” feedback. If we follow the 80/20 rule; 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. Focus on the most productive and positive 20%. Start or end your meetings, face-to-face, and personal start / end of day ritual with a simple two column exercise: list of what’s working and list of what’s not working and take action accordingly. Results will follow and your team will too.
Your Values in Action = Leadership
At the core of Full Engagement Leadership is the self-awareness of what drives you as an individual. What energizes you to do your best work and succeed at reaching your high endeavors. What are the non-negotiable values that must be present for you to commit, create, and take action?
If you, as a leader, see your role as “just doing the job”, it’s going to show. Everyone will know and your team will follow suit. In order to be an effective leader, a fully engaged leader, you need to not only understand your own motivation, but also have the self-awareness to bring your values into action in a direct and tangible way: others will follow. Ask and understand why you lead – your team’s health, and the resulting health of individual team members, depends on it.
Peter F. Drucker nailed it when he wrote: Leadership is not magnetic personality—that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Engage your values, highlight the positive, and connect and communicate: become a fully engaged leader with authenticity and integrity. I am curious, when are you “in the zone” as a leader? Are there specific circumstances that draw out full engagement leadership in you or conversely, are there specific experiences that derail you as a fully engaged leader?