The concepts and values of leadership have evolved over the years. While the ideas of “Be loyal to your employer and do what you are told,” “Get people to follow you,” or “Climb your way to the top” used to be the standard mode of operation, times have changed. The workforce today is not interested in being dictated to, giving absolute loyalty, and working their way up to the top. They are empowered, restless, creative, and clever. If you are a savvy business leader, you will recognize this and use it to your advantage.
Truly effective leaders in the modern workplace embrace conscious leadership. They ask questions rather than look for answers. They empower the people they work with to know what they know and to choose according to that; even if their employees make ‘mistakes.’ And above all, effective leaders go where they are going even if no one follows or goes with them.
Staying on the cutting edge of business requires conscious leadership and here are three of the primary elements.
1. Be Interested, Not Interesting
Many managers believe the way to lead is to share what they know; to be the one who talks while others listen. This approach may work well in an authoritarian environment, but today’s effective leaders are those who give fewer directives and ask more questions. Be interested in your staff. Ask for their views and opinions. Listen to what they have to say. Importantly, look for valuable ideas in their insights.
Here are some questions you can ask to include and engage your staff:
- What else is possible here that we have not considered?
- If you were creating the future, what would you choose?
- What if you could change a certain situation? How would it be different? How would you choose to change it?
2. Encourage Failure in Your Staff
The most effective managers allow others to do things that they, themselves, may not choose—even if that looks like allowing a ‘mistake’ to occur. Failure is just information. When an employee misses the mark, rather than looking at the result and judging it as wrong or as a failure, get them to look at what they know now that they didn’t know before.
When something doesn’t turn out the way you’ve decided it should, ask, “What’s right about this that I’m not getting?” Just because something didn’t go according to plan, doesn’t mean the outcome is wrong. When you are willing to ask: “What’s right about this?” you move beyond the conclusions you are functioning from, which are actually stopping the expansion of your business.
3. See beyond job titles
The true value of a staff member often has nothing to do with the job they have been hired into. The contribution an employee can make to your business often extends well beyond their daily job description. Encourage your staff to contribute in any way they can, and this often means working and cooperating across traditional job roles.
Just because someone isn’t working in a particular department, doesn’t mean they are unable to contribute to it. Your receptionist may be an excellent problem solver. Your accountant may have extraordinarily creative marketing ideas. An effective leader will recognize these assets, and draw upon them.
One way to get clear on where your employees can contribute beyond the scope of their title, or what you have hired them for, is to ask them questions. Have a conversation with them and say, “These are the things I hired you for. What else do you like to do? What else are you good at? What else would you like to learn?” Asking these questions will give you a sense of what this person will enjoy contributing to. Allow your staff to do what they are good at, what is fun for them, and they will contribute so much more.
True leadership is the ability to transform anything, the ability to empower people, the ability to bring people forward with their capacities and enhance that. True leaders recognize that “failure” is nothing more than the need for something to change. They are willing to allow people to make choices and have their own awareness so that together, something greater can be created.
|Gary Douglas is an internationally recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business innovator, and founder of Access Consciousness®, a set of pragmatic tools and teachings transforming lives around the world. He has authored or coauthored numerous books including the novel, The Place, which became a Barnes and Noble #1 bestseller.
An avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary has established ‘The Antique Guild’ store in Brisbane, Australia, owns a thriving stud for Costarricense De Paso horses, a historic castle in Italy, and an eco-retreat in Costa Rica.
He is a vocal advocate of Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership, believing that business can be a force for good, contribute more to the planet, and a create a sustainable future. Access Consciousness® is available in more than 170 countries and has contributed to changing the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world for the past 30 years. Follow Gary on Twitter: @garymdouglas.