“all-important good to better”

Being a leader can be tough. There’s the balance between creating a strategy and supporting and guiding others to execute that strategy to manage. The politics and pressures associated with being in a leadership position can be exhausting on a good day, and overwhelming on a bad day. Making decisions that impact the business and a team of individuals who are following your lead is a responsibility that can at times create a sense of tension. Building a resilient mindset is often the missing link for leaders who don’t want to stop at being an effective leader, but rather want to be an exceptional leader. Resilience is the key to dealing with leadership challenges effectively, and boosting leadership performance to thrive in your leadership position.
There are a few different leadership styles that you should be aware of. Your leadership style is how you’re being perceived, and since perception is often reality, it’s something you want to be mindful of.
For Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a key question is whether a leader’s personal passion matches his or her aspirations. “There are so many false starts, unexpected obstacles, and surprising turns along the path to change. Daily work often drains energy needed for change,” she says. “Leaders must pick causes they won’t abandon easily, remain committed despite setbacks, and communicate their big ideas over and over again in every encounter.”
The second characteristic is being able to communicate. Some leaders are great orators, but speaking well isn’t all that’s required of a leader. As we all know, there are lots of people who talk a great game but deliver nothing. Leaders who communicate well are those who not only share their thoughts with employees, but also let their strength and personal character show through in their communication, and empower those who work for them by defining the company’s goal and showing how to get there.
Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja in Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership present evidence of leadership in nonhuman animals, from ants and bees to baboons and chimpanzees. They suggest that leadership has a long evolutionary history and that the same mechanisms underpinning leadership in humans can be found in other social species, too.[103] Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, in Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, present evidence that only humans and chimpanzees, among all the animals living on Earth, share a similar tendency for a cluster of behaviors: violence, territoriality, and competition for uniting behind the one chief male of the land.[104] This position is contentious. Many animals beyond apes are territorial, compete, exhibit violence, and have a social structure controlled by a dominant male (lions, wolves, suggesting Wrangham and Peterson’s evidence is not empirical. However, we must examine other species as well, including elephants (which are matriarchal and follow an alpha female), meerkats (who are likewise matriarchal), and many others.
Be creative. To be a good classroom leader, you have to find new ways to introduce boring old material to your students. If you don’t mix things up, your students will get bored and distracted and may even lose respect for you.
Situational: Situational leadership encourages leaders to take stock of their team members, weigh the many variables in their workplace, and choose the leadership style that best fits their circumstances.
While communication skills are important for everyone, leaders and managers perhaps need them even more. These skills are general interpersonal skills, not specific to leadership, but successful leaders tend to show high levels of skill when communicating.
Personal Story: One of the first businesses I started was focused on developing and designing mobile apps for retailers. Unfortunately, we were a little early to the party and found it difficult the line up consistent projects. We decided to take everything we learned marketing our own business (mobile websites, SEO, social media, etc.) and use that to help our clients successfully market their businesses. This pivot saved the business and set us up to do more than we ever thought possible.
That makes me think of a story I heard many years ago for which I don’t remember the source. It was about a steel worker who found his job very un-motivating. Day after day, he loaded beams of steel onto trucks. Then one day, after another hard day, he listened to the space shuttle lunch on the news. Much to his surprise, it was mentioned that the steel used to build the space shuttle was coming from the steel plant that he was working in. Needless to say, he was quite happy to brag to everyone in the room that he was the one who loaded those beams of steel onto the truck to be delivered. If his superior would have taken a few minutes to explain what the steel was being used for, perhaps he would have changed his perception and would have been extremely proud of his efforts, as little as they were, in helping to build a space shuttle.
The third and final thing you have to do is develop individuals within the company. In order to accomplish this, you must lead by example, teach employees what leadership means so they can teach their direct reports, establish an environment for success by eliminating excuses, recognize when jobs are well done, have the courage to make the tough calls, and encourage empowerment within certain parameters, among others.

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