In any system, organization or community, change is a vital aspect of existence. We can see it in the way our planet works through its cycles of seasons and as nature constantly goes through transformation. Human beings change, too. It is challenging to remain the same person for long as we grow, add experience, learn lessons and adjust to the times. Those who don’t often become stuck, which can cause a loss of meaning or purpose.
I believe that growth and adaptation are aspects of leadership that often go overlooked. We tend to think of leaders as steady and reliable, which are not necessarily bad things. However, I would caution against confusing predictability with effectiveness. The best leaders are dynamic individuals who are unafraid of reinventing themselves and their styles to lead their people. And still, they retain a set of core values and principles that keep them grounded.
The key is to be able to recognize and accept the feeling of impending transformation. With that in mind, I would like to share with you six of the areas where leaders experience change most often.
Let’s get started!
#1 — Becoming a Leader
You were not always a leader. It took time, effort and learning for you to earn your title, establish yourself and gain the respect of your people. Most of all, you had to understand the difference between being a boss and being a leader. The instincts to guide and influence others were probably inside of you the whole time, yet you still needed to transform, sharpen your intuition and take your skills to a new level.
Thinking that this stage is the final transformation you need to make is a mistake, though. Yes, this new role is quite different from being a “rank-and-file” employee, and it’s just the first of many changes!
#2 — Moving Toward Democracy
Many inexperienced leaders feel the need to lead with strong control and a focus on compliance, which is often due to youth, insecurity or a desire to rely on the techniques that got the individual into their new role in the first place. While some will never evolve this aspect of their leadership, I find that most ultimately realize that an absolute style is simply unsustainable and take on a more democratic approach.
By being open to and actively soliciting the opinions and insights of others, these leaders earn a lot more respect from their peers and their people – and tend to have greater staying power.
#3 — Shifting Focus From Problems to Solutions
The most inspiring and effective leaders rarely spend significant time lamenting or complaining about problems. Nor do they spend much energy pointing fingers or worrying about whom to blame for mistakes. Instead, they focus on solutions.
Of course, leaders need to take action when their people do not perform properly, yet focusing too intensely on errors leaves little room for finding solutions. Leadership should be about forward movement and progress.
By making this mindset shift, leaders consciously avoid the instinct to simply point out mistakes. Instead, they ask what needs to be done to get things back on track and improve, and are open to brainstorming solutions. This attitude benefits their respective organizations – and employees – considerably.
#4 — Becoming Visionary
Leaders usually start their careers by managing people, ideas, challenges and solutions from a day-to-day perspective. They work to ensure smooth operations and harmonious teamwork. They do not always have a vision that extends much beyond the end of the current quarter.
You do not need a preference in Conceptual thinking to begin looking further into the future. It simply takes practice for individuals to think in bigger terms and develop a larger vision. Successful leaders are the ones who retain their ability to see the day-to-day needs of their organizations as well as place those realities into the context of the big picture of the company.
#5 — Recognizing That Leadership Is Not Static
The most celebrated leaders are those who never rest on their accomplishments or expertise. They realize that they may have the right answers today, and that those answers might not be relevant tomorrow. So they keep on working, learning, enhancing and striving to perform better.
Leadership is like a living thing. It requires care, nurturing, discipline and fuel for growth. If your approach is not tended to properly — or if you make yourself too comfortable with the status quo — you may lose your ability to lead.
Emergenetics talks about this concept as embracing the scratchy and has written a few blogs to help you get started. If you need some ideas to begin making this leadership transformation, try reading Emergenetics’ Founder Dr. Geil Browning’s recent post.
#6 — Understanding that Leadership Is Not About the Leader
Grounded, effective and inspiring leaders put their people first. They have confidence in themselves and know that their people are everything.
Transformed leaders see their team members as human beings who are valuable and important. They recognize that their accomplishments are only possible through the talent, innovation, hard work and dedication of their people.
And, these leaders make a conscious effort to support their employees, something that is often buoyed by using tools like the Emergenetics Profile to understand the needs of their employees and making adjustments in their working styles to support the ways their staff prefer to think, behave and learn.
When leaders make this vital transformation to focus on their employees, they change their organizations in profoundly positive ways as well.
Do You Feel a Transformation Happening?
Where are you located on your leadership path? Have you transcended to become as effective as you can be? Chances are, you have experienced a few of the transformations I’ve described above, and there is always room for growth.
To learn more about how Emergenetics can support your leadership journey, or help your employees embrace change themselves, fill out the form below, or visit the Emergenetics Power of WE webpage to discover the Managing Change workshop.