The following article is straight up and down, but at times it’s important to revisit the fundamentals before exploring more adventurous terrain. There are some tried and tested leadership principles that are now void in the modern world, however the following seven P’s of leadership are as applicable today as ever before.
It has been the buzz concept in leadership over the past five or so years off the back of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk – ‘Start with WHY?’ What is your WHY? Without a deep-seated purpose driving your leadership, you will never achieve an optimal level of effectiveness and results. People management is now without doubt the number skill of an effective leader, and having the ability to sell and articulate both your own why, and overall why of the vision that everyone is working towards is beyond crucial. Why do you get out of bed? Why do you do what you do? What is your Why?
Passion is a great ideal, and an ideal that continuously gets put on the table when it comes to leadership. Without it you can’t truly be an effective leader, hence you cannot reach your optimal level of leadership unless you’re passionate about, not just the outcome but also the process. It’s important that the two are distinguished, as everyone can fall in love with the result, but it takes true character to love and embrace the process; the late nights, the difficult conversations, the rejections, the failures and the setbacks. Passion like anything can waiver, so keep it front of mind through positive habits and reminders.
It’s inevitable as a leader that things will go wrong, and that every turn may present a curve ball or hand grenade in your direction. The persistence aspect of leadership is two fold. First and foremost having an internal and unshakeable drive to overcome setbacks and challenges in the form of other people and self-doubt is a non-negotiable for an effective leader. The second and often forgotten aspect of persistence is the preparation and internal development needed to absorb and embrace challenging times. Grunt work is needed at times, absolutely, but preparation to be flexible and adaptable in all circumstances is equally as important.
Does the energy of the room increase when you enter? Or, does the energy of the room increase when you depart? This question alone can separate a leader from a pleader. Embodying a strong but not authoritarian presence to influence and engage, but also protect a team from external negativity is a skill that once perfected, is a powerful asset in your leadership toolbox. The individual’s who manage to reach this high level of leadership are able to achieve a level of respect, trust and rapport that others never seem to obtain.
Does patience belong on the same page as persistence? Not necessarily. Patience can be about playing the long game on a great idea or proposal; however, it is more about the patience displayed and role modeled with other people. Due to numerous technology advances we are in the age of instant gratification, in other words, people are more impatient today than ever before. It is important as the leader and the role model to constantly exhibit patience as a characteristic for people to follow. The comparison game, the quick fix game and the impatience game does not serve an effective leader.
This is such an underused approach to leadership in the modern age! Leaders need to make touch calls; they need to have open and honest conversations, and more importantly leaders are required to show a level of vulnerability and humility to aid trust. The Utopian Leader does not exist, the most effective leaders are the one’s who learn to play the best hands with the cards they are dealt. This is done by continuous self-reflection and development. Being pragmatic in your approach for the betterment of the vision, the team and overall results is a must.
As a leader, embodying a progressive mindset in the age of comfort is paramount. If you are not moving forward you are being left behind. What worked last year may now not be relevant this year. I used the VHS and App metaphor to exaggerate this point. The quality of a VHS diminished when taped over, in essence its level of performance went backwards due to continually doing the same task over and over. The App on the other hand is continually updating to improve its performance. Are you a VHS or an App? To put simply, continually look for ways to do what you do better.