The global pandemic is rapidly highlighting the need for excellence in leadership in organisations worldwide. Who thrives during times of change, and what are the practices that can help us be inspiring leaders right now? Karlin Sloan, CEO of Sloan Group International and author of new practical guide, Inspiring Leadership For Uncertain Times, has these five tips for becoming an inspiring leader
1.) First inspire thyself
The oxygen mask rule applies to leadership. If you are not fuelling your own tank with inspiration, you’ll be unable to dig deep to inspire others. Practice daily inspiration in the ways that work best for you, from reading about heroes that have achieved great things to taking a run in the morning before speaking with anyone.
2.) Practice ‘ostentatious listening’
Google’s recent research into high performance teams highlights a leadership practice that we should all adopt, and that’s what they refer to as “ostentatious listening”. This kind of focused attention on employees demonstrates trust and empathy and builds a more focused and bonded organisation.
3.) Acknowledge reality and focus on the future
The first rule of inspiring leadership is to acknowledge what’s real and focus on the future. Your people need to know that you’re not jumping ahead to a solution before demonstrating that you see their pain, you understand reality, and you are not just leaping into the unknown without that backdrop.
4.) Refrain from the blame
No matter what mistakes have been made or what you disagree with in the world, it’s time to use your position of influence to remove blame from your vocabulary and speak specifically from a growth and learning mindset. Even when circumstances are bleak, your team needs to hear that you’re focused on positive solutions and moving forward.
5.) Inspire the best of human behaviour
During times of change and challenge we need to go back to basics, back to our character strengths and dare I say “virtuous behaviour”. What does this mean? It means finding those enduring human qualities like Fortitude, Courage, Unity, Kindness that drive the best in ourselves. What are the values that underpin your organisation? It’s time to bring your team back to the reasons you work and the best aspects of what it is to be a human being. Times of change bring out the best and the worst, and inspiring leaders focus on the best of themselves and others.
Karlin Sloan is a global leadership & development coach, CEO of Sloan Group International and author of new book, Inspiring Leadership for Uncertain Times.