Finding a leadership style that makes you memorable and unique is challenging and invigorating at best and at worst full of uncertainty, fear and dread.

When starting new as a leader, or even if you’ve been around for awhile but starting with a new team or new organization, there can be both an excitement and dread around decisions of how to use your strengths.

There are questions about how to use your personality warmth or determined tone, whether to give or refrain from sharing advice and how to impart the lessons you’ve learned from others. You want to be original. The fear of creating waves for the organizational environment while tweaking your style to achieve what’s needed is real.

Absolutely tragic, in my view, is the leader who isn’t making brave moves to develop their leadership style and just manages to limp through each day, surviving the onslaught of challenges.

In today’s article…

I will describe 4 intentions that inform a leadership style-in-the-making towards rock-star levels that create a lasting, memorable and satisfying work culture while achieving the results needed. Let’s have fun…

Intention #1- Be committed to the bigger why of your organization and your contribution.

Be visionary. Articulate the organizational bigger picture.The mission. What’s your role as leader to making that operational? It’s an investment not only in the organizational success but yours and your employees. Know that you want to unlock your potential that’s special, unique and different to make that mission come alive. Yes, you care about your legacy.

  • Post the organizational mission statement in a prominent place. How are you demonstrating the mission in your leadership role? And what’s a new way you could make it fun or at least different than the usual? Start today.
  • For the next week, at the end of the day, make a list of what went well. What could you repeat and how can you tweak it to be better?
  • Be intentional about using your strengths. Get out your Value In Action list of top 5 strengths and/or the list from your Strengths Finder Assessment. What strength could help you increase success?

Intention #2- Expand your circle of influence and follow-up.

None of us get better without following-up. Invite feedback regularly about the your leadership and the impact of your style. Choose an inner circle of people that will be available for you with a trusted ear. Select others at random.  Share your goals. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable and be genuine about having a learning mindset. Follow Marshall Goldsmith’s advice for feedforward instead of feedback. Notice it’s looking ahead, not engaging in a discussion about the past

  • Solicit advice without criticism, directed towards the future rather than the past that’s couched in a way of action with the question:  “How can I do better?”  or “What can I do to be a better leader of this group?”  At home, “What can I do to be a better partner?”  So if one of your goals is to “Be more available”, the conversation may go like this, “I want to be more available to employees. Would you give me two suggestions that I could put into practice going forward to achieve being more available to employees?” 
  • Important: Listen, make notes and simply thank the person for their suggestions. No qualifying, explaining or defending what you have done in the past allowed.

Intention #3- Acknowledge the contributions of others.

Generously mention the work and efforts by others.  Recognize the teachers, mentors and supervisors, co-workers, friends and relatives over time who have shared a bit of knowledge, wisdom or support.

  • Take time to make a list of 20 people who have contributed to your success. Thank them in writing. Give them a call. Keep the focus on what they said or did, their talent that they shared with you.  Make the thanks about them. Take 5 minutes now to finish the list of 20 people.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Intention #4- Seek longer sustainability by being realistic & practicing healthy habits.

As driven as you are to achieve, so should you plan to set time apart for the unintended consequences of an action. We know sustainable systems have ways to support and adapt to work surprises or needed follow-up. Great leaders stick around and take responsibility for managing the aftermath of an action especially when consequences aren’t desired. Time and thought is reserved for these tweaks and adjustments.

For example, an executive decision to recognize star employees requires time from the regular work flow.  A positive event becomes negative for employees because the time planned to complete necessary work tasks is decreased and more pressure is added to the employees work day…an unintended consequence which needs to be addressed to keep the positivity.

Additionally, rest from the work schedule needs attention so that focus on other life activities that are important happen. Fun in the sun activities apart from work are necessary, healthy habits.

  • Make it part of your checklist following a work action to consider what might be the unintended consequences? Be balanced by planning for the action and both intended and unintended consequences.
  • Open your calendar. Is there a designated time set apart from the rest of your schedule that is sacred, just for your Important personal activities? If not, set aside an hour right now to plan an ongoing sacred time in your weekly schedule for yours truly.

The takeaway is…

You are valuable to the organization. Be intentional about developing a leadership style, make adjustments when needed and bravely welcome the ongoing lessons uncertainty brings. Remember, developing a leadership style is a process, not an event. Let’s rock this process together.

I’m always intrigued to learn: What informs your ongoing development to rock-star best?

If you’re wondering about accelerating your efforts towards developing that rock star within, please notify me.  It’s easy.  Go to Love My Work Strategy Session and provide some quick information about yourself.  Rock and roll.  Nice.