Forbes Article by Forbes Council Member, Amanda Connelly
During my 22 years of human resource leadership experience and over a decade of coaching hundreds of executives, I have found the following key attributes to success can be simplified into being a memorable leader who learns to dance with others in these five ways:
Just dance. Leaders are constantly seeking ways to motivate their teams and attempting to be more creative than the last time they tried. Here’s a secret: Keep it simple and let them see who you are as an authentic leader. One leader I worked with kept the same crazy hours I did, late into the evenings, so the lights would turn out on us until we waved our hands around like we were fighting flies.
One day she decided to dance past my office to turn the lights on, this happened night after night until it turned into a dance battle between us for the best moves of the week. I found myself never focusing on the late hours but anticipating showing off my next dance moves that evening. It showed me her sense of humor and appreciation in a way that I’d never get from any standard recognition system.
A: Abundance Mindset
Influential leaders do not come from a place of lack, they come from the mindset of abundance in that anything is possible and there is more than enough opportunity for everyone. They encourage respectful challenging of norms, expand current practices and seek out innovative solutions from their teams’ vast backgrounds and life experiences. They understand that great leadership is setting the stage for the innovative process, not being the loudest voice in the room.
N: No Clones Allowed
How boring would this world be if we were all the same? Most would answer that yes, that would be boring. Then why do we surround ourselves with so many people who are just like us? I encourage you to look at your Circle of Trust; who are those top five confidants that you lean on for personal and professional advice? How many of them come from completely different backgrounds (gender, ethnicity, life experience, financial net worth, thought processes, etc.)? Great leaders surround themselves with a variety of individuals who offer thoughtful approaches from many different vantage points.
If you need greater diversity in your circle today, seek it out and encourage others to do the same! Look at the cliques on your team and shuffle them up; create a team that values and celebrates differences. Hire the talent that doesn’t fit the mold but changes the mold to something even more beautiful. You can’t have a beautiful orchestra with just one type of instrument.
C: Communication Regulator
It’s critical for leaders to recognize the power of influence that they hold over the outcome of communications. Most of us have encountered leaders whose energy determines that of all participants in a room. We all have the capability to tap into that influence over energy. We have the ability to change our tone, pace, content, eye contact, awareness and regulation of self and others. It starts with awareness of our own presence in the room and what is needed to best reach our audience. Speaking too slowly or too quickly evokes different levels of engagement and commitment to outcomes as do the other levers you can pull to adjust the energy. Test your abilities to change these and lock in your power of influence.
Remember to have fun with this influence and create thoughtful moments with others. I worked with another wonderful executive who created genuine moments that mattered in a fun way that spoke to his authenticity. He would drive a remote-control car into my office loaded with chocolate, and somehow this remote-control car always got stuck, so he’d have to lean in my doorway as a reason to connect. Those small, surprise moments resulted in years of supporting one another through challenging situations. Chocolate is always a welcome distraction, but I continue those ad hoc moments with my team due to his influence.
E: Engage The Company Culture
Great leaders keep a pulse on the underpinnings of their teams—the not-so-harmless glances, preferential treatment of certain teammates, cliques, etc. Many leaders have shared with me that they don’t have time for drama, so they avoid difficult conversations and leave it to HR to address once it’s reached a toxic level. The culture of the team is a direct reflection of their leadership. Great leaders have constructive conversations the moment they sense a shift in the team dynamics. They accurately articulate the culture of their team.
A good way to gain insight into this is to make sure your definition of the culture of the team is the same as theirs. If it isn't, or if it is unfavorable (even for just one team member), then you have work to do. During my culture feedback gathering of teams, I often find that the leader and their team describe a different sheet of music.
I encourage you to create joyful moments with your teams by trying these five things. See what works best for you and never stop exploring how to continue being a great leader. When your days are the most difficult, just D.A.N.C.E.!
As seen in Forbes.