Leading Self

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What is leadership?

Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or a business. Leadership is the state or position of being a leader. Good leadership, whether formal or informal, is helping other people rise to their full potential while accomplishing the mission and goals of the group. In business this is pivotal.

Simon Sinek says, “great leaders inspire action”. This session is all about leadership. Typically people think about leadership as leading other people. So many of us don’t stop to think about how we are leading ourselves.

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It’s hard to inspire action if you aren’t leading by example. Traditional leadership styles weren’t focused on self-leadership. They were more dictatorial, hierarchical, it didn’t matter what the leader was doing as long as you followed their orders. Did they work, they probably would have worked well if you are a robot (happy to follow orders without analysing the situation. However most of us aren’t, leadership styles like this did work in history because people’s choices were limited.

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People needed jobs in order to survive so they put up with an unethical dictatorship. These days we live in a very different world, where freedom of speech and choice is actively promoted, you only have to look at the employment trends to know that the way business worked back then is very different to now. 

In our parents’ generation, people held onto jobs for decades, now the average employee changes jobs every 12-24 months. Leaders have to work harder in today’s workforce to inspire their employees, customers and stakeholders to maintain loyalty.

It was Aristotle that first codified the rules of rhetoric (the rules of persuasion) a piece of written work that is still considered the most important work on persuasion ever written; Rhetoric, the art of persuasive speech, was a crucial skill for leaders in ancient Greece and still is for presidents and purveyors alike.  

We believe there are direct links between this and what is now emerging as a new type of leadership, one that utilises emotional and conversational intelligence to lead people.

We believe the successful leader of the 21st century is:

  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Able to strategically use their own thinking and the thinking of others to build better relational and business outcomes
  • able to facilitate others to unlock their potential 

If you’re interested in leadership styles, this article illustrates some interesting new leadership styles emerging within work: https://alistemarketing.com/blog/types-of-leadership-models/

Leading others is about first leading yourself so you can lead others.

The Aristotle model validates this well. Aristotle developed three modes of persuasion for convincing an audience:

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1) Ethos — Appeal to credibility, Appeal to Ethics, Morals and Character

In the sense of leadership, Ethos has to do with who the leader is as a person. His/her identity will have a great impact on how the audience (the people you are leading) take your messages and lead in general.

Ethos is primarily about building trust, and one does this through leading by example. They say “actions speak louder than words”. Your strongest testimonial is your own personal example. You must first and foremost lead yourself and show behaviours of trust–only then can others rely on you.

Leaders with strong credibility are believable and reliable because of their expertise and reputation. The ethos of your credibility is demonstrated through both knowledge (know-how, your experience on what you’re talking about) and character (who you present as a person). 

Your integrity, the experience others have of you and your reputation goes a long way toward establishing how others will perceive you. Consistency in character is important for people to believe in you.

So first, we work on establishing trust, which is what Aristotle determined was the most important part of the honest process of persuasion.

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2) Pathos — Appeal to Emotion

While logic makes people think, emotion is what drives people to act. Pathos is about your connection to others, specifically an emotional connection. It may seem obvious, but you have to work with people as humans, not task-focused automatons. 

Humans are emotional beings. Few decisions or actions are purely based on facts or logical thinking, in fact, there are scientific studies emerging illustrating all decisions are made in the emotional brain before we validate them with logic.

If facts alone dictated behaviour, advertising and sales agencies would be out of business. No one would smoke, no one would eat unhealthy foods, or click on Instagram ads. Every decision would be completely rational, which is far from the truth, most of us make decisions to do things we know aren’t good for us. 

Why? Because we are driven by emotions. 

By making an emotional connection with those you work with, from individuals to teams to large audiences, you generate the energy that propels action. 

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3) Logos — Appeal to Logic

Logos focuses on presenting a logical argument or idea, using evidence and facts. Applying this principle today goes beyond using logic and reasoning. Effective leaders these days need to embrace clarity or ‘sense making’ to ensure their credibility and appeal to emotions is maintained.

A leader who has great credibility and appeals to emotion but then loses his team when his ideas are cloudy, messy and ultimately doesn’t make sense is not an effective leader. You need all three elements to effectively communicate and lead others.

Can you lead others effectively if you’re not leading yourself? Certainly not well.

You must lead by example first. Your messages should demonstrate a clear rationale and logic, articulating the link between facts and the decisions you intend to make, while also being easy to follow. 

This requires thoughtful organisation and sharing information to the right level of detail with your audience. This takes awareness of your audience, for example, if you’re working with ‘technical’ based people (HBDI blue thinkers), you might need far more detail than say ‘creative’ based people (HBDI yellow thinkers).

People will feel frustrated if your message is too high level with no substance, or too detailed with no link to the bigger picture.

Aristotle’s model presents a strong case that business leaders need to be emotionally intelligent.

For us to build credibility we need to be leading ourselves and present as the strongest possible leaders, we need to be able to use our language intelligently using emotional pathos and we need awareness of how we communicate to be able to communicate better. 

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Every aspect of how we communicate, connect with and inspire others relates to emotional intelligence. You can break the skillsets of emotional intelligence to directly relate to the concepts of leading self and leading others. 

Leading self is about eliciting self-awareness and the ability to self regulate or manage your thoughts and emotions.

Leading others is about having the awareness of others, seeing others points of view, understanding others frames of reference for the world like their values, beliefs and ways of thinking without judgement and using this knowledge in ways that bring positive shared results.

Clustering the EI skills, illustrates their relevance. In the middle lies motivation. If you are leading yourself and others ultimately you are tapping into motivation levels to achieve personal and professional performance.

 Emotional intelligence is as we have already explored is about:

  • Knowing your feelings and using them to make life decisions you can live with.
  • Being able to manage your emotional life without being hijacked by it – not being paralysed by depression or worry, or swept away by anger.
  • Persisting in the face of setbacks and channelling your impulses in order to pursue your goals.
  • Empathy reading other people’s emotions without their having to tell you what they are feeling.
  • Handling feelings in relationships with skill and harmony, and being able to articulate the unspoken pulse of a group.

Leaders with high emotional intelligence often create more connected and motivated teams. The skills people with emotional intelligence possess make them effective managers. Some of these skills include the ability to inspire others, personal integrity, communication skills and ease of building relationships, among others.

The pillars of emotional intelligence, developed by Daniel Goleman, is one of the keys to successful relationships. If you are to successfully lead your life both professionally and personally, relationships are one of the most important and influential ways of doing it.

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The following five domains describe the basic personal and social competencies that support human relationships:

  • Self-awareness relates to recognising your emotions and feelings. Key questions surround whether you understand how you feel and what your strengths and limits are.
  • Self-regulation relates to controlling certain traits. Key questions surround whether you are trustworthy, in control of your impulses, flexible, innovative and responsible.
  • Self-motivation relates to your internal drive. Key questions surround whether you can meet a standard of excellence, align to specific goals, act on opportunities and remain optimistic despite setbacks.
  • Social awareness relates to empathy. Key questions surround whether you can sense, anticipate or understand other people’s concerns, needs and abilities.
  • Social skills relate to areas where relationships can excel. Key questions surround whether you can build bonds, collaborate, team build, lead, communicate and influence others. 

Note that the majority of these skills relate to how you emotionally connect and communicate with people, including yourself. It is about the relationships you build with yourself and others. We have taken these and clustered them into a workable model that you can use to unpack how you lead yourself and others.

Watch this video for further information:

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Throughout this program, we have done a range of activities and Action tasks that have been established to assist you in strengthening your self-awareness as a leader of self and others. We’ve identified some of your strengths, what motivates you, we’ve looked in-depth at your preferred ways of thinking and how they affect your behaviour. We’ve unpacked your values and beliefs. We have challenged you to identify limiting beliefs and also those that support you.

You’re now well on your way to strengthening your self-awareness. However, self-awareness is an ongoing activity that should be implemented on a daily basis. We have also started you thinking about the tools and techniques you can employ to help facilitate your self-awareness and self-management.

What is self-management?

Self Management is about emotional regulation, Self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage your behaviour and your reactions to feelings and things happening around you.

To effectively self-manage is to use your awareness to productively direct your actions and behaviours. For example, a leader in business feels feelings of frustration, anger and annoyance as their team is underperforming. A leader who is utilising emotional intelligence would channel this emotion to be assertive, decisive and driven towards implementing an improvement plan. On the opposing side, a leader who is not using emotional intelligence will be bossy, blame the employer or their fellow employees/teams and focus on how they are better than their peers.

Which style of leadership do you think will bring about positive results? Certainly not the latter.

Being able to self-manage includes being able to:

  • regulate reactions to strong emotions like frustration, excitement, anger and embarrassment
  • calm down after something exciting or upsetting
  • focus on a task
  • refocus attention on a new task
  • control impulses
  • behave in ways that help you get along with other people

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Self-Regulation Strategies – Methods for Leading Self

Understanding ways to manage yourself effectively in more challenging times empowers you to keep active control of your life and business outcomes. Here are just some strategies that can assist you to better manage your emotional reactions:

  • Consciously attend to breathing and relaxing
  • Exercise
  • Movement
  • Awareness of body sensations
  • Attending to care for my body and its nutrition
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Self-expression: art, music, dance, writing, etc
  • Caring, nurturing self-talk
  • Laughing, telling jokes
  • Positive self-talk (“I can,” “I’m sufficient” messages)
  • Go inside with intention of nurturing of self

Continue on to explore how you can use your self-awareness and management to better lead others.