The “How” factors to Effective Leadership
“You have to be enthusiastic as a leader. You can’t light a fire with a wet match.”
I’ve always felt that effective leadership and the corresponding successes a company and their people have not only depended upon the skill sets of the personnel, but also in how the personnel utilize their skills and how they carry out their day-to-day business. I’ve felt it’s as just important to execute the “how” each day, and not only focus on the “what”.
There’s a very good book out that I suggest as a great read. It’s called “Chop Wood, Carry Water”. Fantastic book that really opened my eyes and gave me some real “aha” moments!
Thank you, Shyla Best, for bringing that to me.
The “how” is very critical and it is made up of some important characteristics within us that must first be realized and then practiced every day. These characteristics or “traits” as some might call them are the key to a company’s culture and corresponding successes.
These characteristics are mostly important to be a part of and demonstrated by those in leadership roles. As a leader you are in control of other people’s daily professional lives, so HOW you carry yourself, what your attitude is today and HOW you interact with your personnel that you lead, is really truly critical to that overall culture and drives the success of a company.
The first characteristic leaders must exude is enthusiasm. Why?
Because, just like laughter, enthusiasm can be contagious!
Who would you rather work with or for? Someone who is not happy and comes to work all mopey, or someone who loves what they are doing? Well, I hope that answer is as obvious to you as it is to me. No one wants to work with a chronically non-enthusiastic person, do they? It’s just more fun to work with people that are happy, enthusiastic and energetic. And working in a positive and energetic workplace increases mood levels, which also increases work output, which increases job satisfaction and that leads to “getting more done”. It’s been proven again and again.
If a leader does not “enthuse” about their employer, their job, their daily tasks or their fellow coworkers and make a commitment to being that enthusiastic person each day, then why should anyone else?
It’s easy to say enthusiastic things or “want to” be enthusiastic, but it’s another thing to take action and BE “enthused” and exhibit enthusiasm.
This is the difference between “aspirational” values and “congruent” values. Aspirational is saying “I want to” or “I aspire to” be enthusiastic and energetic. Congruent is actually doing those things so you can and do demonstrate enthusiasm and positive energy through your actions and daily behavior.
I’ve outlined a few other characteristics that are important for us remember every day so we can be better leaders and better coworkers for our fellow work family members
Not everyone can lead people effectively, and a leader with zero enthusiasm or positive energy almost has zero chance to make himself/herself or their team successful. And, here’s where it starts, folks. It starts at the top with me, has to be shown and demonstrated to those under me, and carried on down to the next level, and so on, and so on. And it has to be repeated every single day without fail, so it becomes embedded in your everyday work. But oh, that is so easy to say, not so easy to do is it? Yep, I know.
You ever have those days when you just want to pull the covers back over your head and stay there until today just carries on without you? Ya? Well me too. “How in the hell am I going to be enthusiastic today and be a positive leader, when I can’t even get myself motivated enough to get out of bed and comb my own hair?” Lucky for me, I just put on a hat! Ah, I crack myself up!
Seriously, here’s the deal though. Never in the history of successful people or companies has anybody ever made it to their target or goals, all-the-while being a “Negative Nancy”, or being led by one.
This is why as leaders amongst our peers, our energy and enthusiasm are paramount to keeping up momentum as a company. I can’t stress this enough.
First, start it all off by believing in yourself. Then, you must believe in your fellow coworkers and believe in what we are all trying to accomplish. As you do this, positive energy and enthusiasm will start to build within yourself and in your coworkers. Remember, enthusiasm is contagious, but so is negativity. A famous quote says something that is exactly true. You reap what you sow. What you plant, feed and water is what will flourish and become stronger, what you give zero nourishment to, will die. Feed the positive, kill the negative.
Here’s another very important belief as it comes to feeding a positive attitude each day.
“Those people that believe in themselves and what it takes to be a success, normally succeed, while those who believe in the possibility of failure and don’t put in the efforts day in and day out, normally fail. It’s simple. You will manifest that which you most believe and support.”
Another great characteristic that can make or break a day, a project or a career. All of the great leaders in the world are passionate about what they do and convey that passion and enjoyment to the rest of their team. Leaders should have a real passion for the company’s vision and should advocate it strongly at every opportunity, to bring it alive and make it happen. Without passion, leaders will find it difficult to motivate themselves and their team. That passion is evidenced by the way a leader goes about their work, particularly their positive body language, upbeat communication and use of positive communication.
Let’s call integrity the carrier for the other necessary characteristics. It is the “effort” you put into exercising a positive, energetic and enthusiastic influence. Positivity, enthusiasm and passion don’t just happen, sometimes you have to look for it and find reasons to exude those traits. The most important thing is to be genuine and earnest each day. Being genuine in your actions while leading others is crucial. When you are genuinely enthusiastic, positive, energetic and confident, you will be able to harness the positive energy that is already within those around you and you will then be a catalyst that sparks those positive energies.
What if I just don’t feel like being positive, enthusiastic and energetic today?
Ooh, good question.
Well, that depends. Did your dog die last night and you’re feeling the blues, or did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? In one scenario, it’s completely understandable why you may not be “feeling” it. Everyone knows our dogs are just like our kids. Hell, I’d tell you to go home and be with your family in this time of sorrow. Mona and I might even cry right alongside you!
The other “rolled out of the wrong side of the bed” scenario…I say, “buck it up sally and get to work.” You’ve got people depending upon you and “adulting” today in a positive, energetic and enthusiastic manner is non-negotiable. But, I’d bet if you do get up, go to work and really do put effort into changing your attitude, you’d see others do the same and before you know it, you’re back to having a great day and knocking things out with a smile.
When you share your positive energy with those around you, they can become energetic, and they in turn will share their energy with you, and then that grows and grows. Suddenly everyone’s buzzing at an even higher level – and you are that catalyst that got it all started. Good job, you!
If you go out each day, practice and execute positivity, enthusiasm and passion each day, you’ll soon see that more and more people want to be around you, work with you and work for you. They’ll gravitate toward you each day and “need” to be like you, need to learn from you, because of your energy or as some people call it, your positive “aura”.
This is the essence of what I refer to as “Genuine Charismatic Leadership.”, and that folks, is rare, but assures you that there’ll be nothing that you, your co-workers and our company cannot accomplish. Plus, doesn’t being happy just feel better inside than being sad and grumpy?
Go out, make attempts each day to be a positive influence in someone’s life, and try to NOT feel better about yourself after you do that. I bet you won’t be able to. Even if that doesn’t make you physically smile, your soul WILL be smiling inside, and that’s pretty darn great!
“You are as young as your face, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”