Do you know what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room? Do you know what they think of your performance, your presence, your purpose and your personality? Rather than being unconcerned about what others think, it’s important to ensure that their perception of you aligns with how you want to be perceived. Because the answers to these questions are part of your personal brand.
Glenn Llopis describes personal brand as “the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader.”1 It’s your promise that you will do what you said you will do. It’s your reputation that attracts others to you, or pushes them away. Establishing and managing your brand is an ongoing process fueled by continual behavioral inputs that remind others of who you are, what you do, and how you can support them. Leaders must develop their brand so that it validates their work and provides a platform to connect with others and accomplish their goals.
Leaders are rewarded for action. They’re used to being in control and working to influence the environment around them. They have a vision, mission, and objectives to accomplish. Other stakeholders hold them accountable for developing and executing plans to drive results. Providing excuses isn’t part of their vocabulary. So what place does the word “patience” have in the context of leadership?
To understand, let’s look at patience as a leadership competency. According to Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger’s model of leadership, patient leaders are tolerant with people and processes; they wait for others to catch up before acting; they try to understand people and data before making decisions and proceeding; and they follow established processes. Meanwhile, leaders who are unskilled in this area act before it’s time to act; they don’t take the time to listen or understand, they think almost everything needs to be done quicker and shorter; they often interrupt others and finish their sentences; they’re action oriented and avoid process and problem complexity; and they sometimes jump to conclusions instead of thinking things through.1
As a leader, the “buck” for certain decisions stops with you. You’re responsible for outcomes impacting your team, your organization, your career, your family and friends. Sometimes the choice is clear, but frequently, it’s not. Ambiguities are the norm, and while there is pressure to make fast decisions, you know that it’s more important to make timely decisions. Meanwhile, stakeholders press you because they have their own motivations and need to know how your decision impacts them.
Good decision-making isn’t based on the quantity of information you’re able to review, but on the quality of information you’re able to comprehend and process to the right conclusion. Good decision-making brings together intuition and systems understanding of the many networks impacted by the choices you make. It incorporates intellectual agility to draw conclusions from a broad array of facts and data to reach desired outcomes, with the political savvy to navigate varied perspectives and power dynamics. Thus, decision-making is not only a science but an art.
The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and to recognize and influence others’ emotions, is a critical leadership skill. It can make the difference between marginal accomplishment of a goal, and engaging the hearts and minds of team members to uncover innovative and game changing solutions that exceed expectations.
Emotions represent the Heart in the Head + Hands + Heart equation of leadership. It’s where leaders demonstrate that they care about and can connect with others. The emotions of individuals can either activate and motivate the team, or move them to disassociate from the goal and passively comply. Leaders who engage the capabilities and skillsets (hands), and intellect (heads) of their team; but fail to engage their minds and emotions (hearts) will find that there’s a missing link to maximize performance.
Imagine that you’re leading an organization in transition. The current state is unworkable, and you have a plan and vision for the future, but it will require radical change. You know it is essential to communicate the need for and plan to change (head), the requirements for change (hands), and gain supportfor the change (heart). To effectively do this it’s helpful to understand employee emotions (fear, excitement, uncertainty, confusion, distrust?) and address each one to effectively encourage, motivate and inspire the team. Continue reading