Seven Critical Leadership Rituals

Rituals are important to the survival of any organization as they contribute to the unique culture of a workplace. Rituals can mean honoring our co-workers’ birthdays with cards that everyone signs and a special birthday cake or making Wednesday “Bagel Day” for the firm. Some teams embrace the ritual of a monthly Happy Hour to connect with everyone in a less formal setting while other teams support a “Field Day” filled with outdoor activities to get to know one another better. Whatever the ritual, to feel part of our work worlds we honor those routines and behaviors.

Rituals are also the key to influential leadership as they set the tone of how we want to lead and how we want others to see us. Although we each put our own unique mark on leading, there are some critical leadership rituals that can help us be more impactful.

Here are seven critical leadership rituals that can help us be more influential:

1. KNOW YOUR CORE VALUES

Just like any journey or adventure we may take, we need to have a compass to steer our leadership direction. That begins with a clear understanding of what drives us. Our core values need to be front and center of every action and decision we make. To identify those values think about what feels right, what makes you happy and what is your leadership purpose. This is not fluff. This is your reality.

2. DISPLAY AUTHENTICITY

To be authentic is to lead with truth and integrity. When leaders try to copy someone else’s technique and spirit they will always fall short. But when leaders allow their “realness” to show, they will attract others and be heard. Think of how we can sense a fake and then make sure to honor your best self and share it with others.

3. RECOGNIZE BOTH GIFTS AND BLIND SPOTS

All leaders have talents and strengths that when cultivated will help them lead in more effective ways. We also have areas we need to grow and nourish. How can we identify both?

4. VALUE THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU

Leaders recognize that they can’t accomplish great things without the help of others and that means being appreciative and showing kindness.

  • Give others the credit they deserve
  • Be generous with “thank you” shout-outs
  • Lend a helping hand to team members who are stuck meeting a deadline
  • Go to “Happy Hours” and participate in “Field Days”

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOW VULNERABILITY

An important ritual to commit to is showing others our mistakes and missteps. When leaders share stories of failure or frustration, they build connections with people. We each need to do it in our own way, but make sure to allow others to see that we are multi-sided. Displaying vulnerability is a true leadership strength.

6. STEP OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

Although it may feel uncomfortable, it is essential for leaders to take risks and welcome new perspectives. Leaders will never grow or evolve unless they take unfamiliar leaps. Here is a great talk at a TEDx by  Brandeis University professor  Andy Molinsky about how to get outside your comfort zone.

7. COMMUNICATE WITH RESPECT

Without being a strong assertive communicator we can’t be influential leaders. Communicating assertively involves speaking openly, directly but with respect to others’ points of view. Try these rituals:

  • Listen to hear the entire message
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Try not to judge or assume
  • Ask questions with care and compassion
  • Be in the moment

What leadership rituals work for you?

 

2 thoughts on “Seven Critical Leadership Rituals

  1. Yes! These are rituals that leaders must cultivate to create a team and culture that thrive. In a recent workshop I delivered, the participants suggested that “Wine Wednesday” was a much-needed ritual. When we got to the reason why, it was that they saw it as recognition for hard work. They wanted to be valued and recognized for their efforts and not only outcomes.

    These are super hard (ie. scary) for so many leaders (and humans!) I’m with you, vulnerability, authenticity, knowing your blind spots all are rituals worth cultivating. The best part is that every time leaders do it, it creates a powerful ripple and inspires others to do the same.

    Thanks, Terri! Will share!

  2. I love the point you make that rituals can sometimes emerge from a change required in the current culture. Your attendees shared the need for recognition and that led to the establishment of a new ritual.
    Thanks Alli for your additions and support! I am sure your session went well.

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