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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

Thought leadership: how to leverage your approach to those around you

By: Juanpablo Barrantes. Leader’s approach (10 min read) Since some time ago, I have been looking for the reasons on why leaders behave as such, that is, whenever a leader shows up certain traits like those of domination, protection, control, cooperation and influence to others. Through the ages, we have seen many civilizations, nations, companies and teams thriving and achieving success due to their leaders. However, we have also seen other civilizations, nations, companies and teams failing and disappearing for the same reason: their leaders! So what’s the difference between those leaders who build for success and those who end up in continued failure? There is a faint and blurry line of subtle choices, behaviors and even decisive moments when suddenly a wrong decision is made, or a permissive behavior is tolerated, even a toxic attitude is assumed. Then time passes by and there is no awareness for reflecting and correcting on such wrong choices, it seems like there is no humility to assume an attitude for introspection. Eventually, everything falls into failure, it might be an unavoidable outcome of the compound effect*. The path to personal success, the longest and most difficult road, there are no shortcuts! Few are willing to pay the price for authentic leadership. The principles and values ​​that define a true leader surpass any easy or mundane approach to face life. It seems to me that the right approach for authentic leadership demands higher and continued shots of wisdom and insightfulness. Outline your leadership with authenticity, by always striving to: - Show integrity and honesty If there is something essential a leader must deliver at all times is his credibility by walking the talk, this is mainly achieved by being honest and trustworthy. Being of one piece, no double face nor double speech, and by addressing difficult situations with openness and transparency. To have a proper discernment between right and wrong by always doing the right thing. To show character and humility because you acknowledge your own mistakes, by reflecting and learning on them while looking for not repeating the same mistake twice. Trustworthy and honest leaders set the right approach for long-term prosperity wherever they may be. The most solid foundation authentic leaders build over time is their ability to engage people in the accomplishment of the mission through a fundamental first step: by always working with honesty and integrity. - Be relentlessly disciplined and focused The ability to be relentlessly disciplined and focused on what matters, when it matters most, it’s definitely one of the most powerful approaches a leader displays to achieve outstanding results consistently. However, such skills of discipline and focus are certainly out of reach for too many people... Disciplined and focused leaders create, implement and sustain Management Systems. Once management systems are in place, leaders follow through to create and maintain frequent review of results and accountability protocols like visual boards and balanced scorecards. Out of these management reviews, key aspects of performance will eventually arise, being those Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) the ones who represent 20% of the process variables that influence over 80% of the outcome. So it’s precisely over these KPI’s where the leader and his team’s focus is addressed: in solving the 20% of the process critical variables that influence over 80% of the final outcome. I think great leadership towards teamwork is effective as long as it is based on a neat-disciplined and focused approach to everything we plan, execute and follow through to achieve the expected outcome consistently. Without discipline, anyone does anything, without focus and probably without any grueling towards the systems that must prevail to achieve consistent results over time. It is of key importance to put discipline and focus over any of the basics and essentials an effective leader must display to those around him. - Show Passion and Determination Any success we get in life out of what we do routinely, is in a great measure the result of how passionately we do everything in that routine. Passion cannot be faked, it is an emotional state of the heart, soul and mind that boosts the abilities and skills of those who exhibit it. Also, it is the raw material of determination, since passionate leaders show the highest levels of resolution in both behaviors and character. Passionate and determined leaders develop self-confidence in what they love to do. In some instances, they even open the scope of their decision making process by not only considering fact based choices, but also non-fact based choices, relying on their gut feelings, because it’s precisely such high level of self-confidence which grant them a capacity of seeing beyond others normally see. In many instances, the gut feeling skills help these leaders to anticipate effective actions in critical key moments or during crisis, where resolute and self-confident leaders are most needed. The skill of anticipating to key decisions is a virtue that is reserved only for those who discover what they love to do, their main reason for being, their essence in life. - Have Vision and Influence others Knowing how to visualize the future and have full certainty of what to expect once eventually there, it’s undoubtedly another milestone for effective leadership. But it does not stop there, because it is complemented with the ability to walk the talk, by living the vision and make it happen by influencing others. Some of us have been Blessed for having lived or worked for a leader who has touched our inner-selves, someone who we feel fully committed and at the same time inspired to a particular cause. It is very common in the language of leadership to use the term "disciple": someone who is inspired by following his leader with the highest conviction, loyalty, trust and respect. On the contrary, there are leaders who are dysfunctional, because they do not reach this connection and mystique with their followers. The followers of such dysfunctional leaders are known as "mercenaries": followers for convenience or for simple necessity. The result sooner or later in a group made up of mercenaries is failure. Convening a group of followers and achieving a team of disciples over time is not an easy quest, you need to be present and walking the talk, sharing a common vision and influencing to action. - Be perseverant and consistent How do you know if you are improving? How do you know if you are succeeding or otherwise if you are failing in something that is important you? What is not measured, is not improved. That is, you need a starting point and a final destination, effective leaders master the skill of rightly placing themselves in time and space, so they know where they are and where they want to go. They set ambitious and challenging goals, personal goals and goals for his team. Such goals are the means by which any of the gaps between the point of departure and the final destination are closed. The essence of an effective leader is determined by his personal goals, and those goals become catalysts of his personal growth. Perseverance works like a muscle that is nurtured and strengthen continuously every time something is done to reach a goal. Over time, as practice makes mastery, you will eventually gain respect as a credible leader because of your consistency in getting the expected outcome while doing the right thing. - Be reflexive and resilient The difficult stuff, the hardest endeavors to achieve in life are what really make you grow. Looking at others and criticizing is very easy, but it does not produce anything good to anyone in the process. Look at yourself to foster self-reflection, that might be difficult. It is also difficult to see the best in others to appreciate and leverage those virtues and strengths of the people around. Practice and master reflection, knowing how to look at oneself to be aware of your own vices and virtues. It is also to look at others to get the best out of the people who are close to you. The ability to be reflexive helps us to be better prepared for those moments of crisis and chaos when we may suffer any kind of setback in our lives. In such difficult times, effective leaders show resiliency by striving for the reason or the sense or why they are going through such "bitter drink". In addition, they look for practical solutions and even "out of the box" ideas to recover and get ahead of crisis. If still the expected outcome does not occur, they show patience and adaptability to start over again to the reflection process, to understanding again and striving for another solution to get over setback. Honesty and Integrity, Discipline and Focus, Passion and Determination, Vision and Influence, Perseverance and Consistency, Reflection and Resilience; Learn from these qualities and print your own essence of leadership. Your family, your team and your community will feel appreciation, at the same time they will feel inspired to replicate your example as long as you feel inspired by that footprint that you leave in the lives of everyone around you. *Axiom of the Compound Effect. Darren Hardy, author of the book "The Compound Effect", describes in an extremely accurate way what happens naturally (attention, this is a natural law!) with the fate each person builds over time, which is directly and entirely related to the decisions each one makes, being consciously or being unconsciously throughout life: “Everything in your life exists because you first made a choice about something. Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Choose poorly, and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board, forced to make new, often harder choices. Don’t choose at all, and you’ve made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way.” Read also: “The paradigm of Consistency” —

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