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?
- Notice what areas and responsibilities that colleagues and bosses ask for your input. Those are indications of your strengths.
- Recognize those skills that come easily and bring you fulfillment. Those are probably your gifts that are critical to share.
- Be open to honest feedback to gain insight into your blind spots.
- Partner with co-workers or bosses to develop ways of overcoming areas we need to improve.
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?