Independence Day is upon us in the United States and many will celebrate with fireworks, social gatherings and plenty of barbecued food. It is a joyous time as we honor those who helped create a country of freedom and choice. Along with having the many opportunities, comes a great deal of responsibility and expectation. We need to be open to different points of view and be willing to hear all sides of an issue before declaring our stand. But what is most fascinating about this process is that once you actually behave this way, it becomes a way of life naturally.
Working with a senior leadership team this week was an eye opening experience. Although the organization is fairly technical in nature and usually focuses on end results, we began an important discussion on how to create stronger work connections. It seemed that although employees were performing well, there was not a great deal of camaraderie. In fact, what was happening was that the team leaders were only socializing with themselves and spent little time getting to know their team members. As a result, deeper work relationships were not being formed. Younger and newer team members were feeling unappreciated.
Why should senior leaders care about new workers coming up through the ranks? Why is it necessary
Leadership is not about a position or title. Leadership is not about taking over a team and dictating what needs to be accomplished. Leadership is not about lecturing others to make sure our ideas are selected for a solution. Leadership is not about being the loudest or smartest in the room.
So what is leadership all about?
Leadership is all about becoming empowered and helping others become empowered. It is about creating cultures of empowerment within organizations and teams. When we feel empowered we can lead with confidence and compassion. We can impact our worlds of work in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Here are five tactics to becoming an empowered leader:
Each year we honor the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and contributions to humanity. He had a vision about equality and care for one another that still rings true today. Leaders can learn so much by looking at the empowering actions and communication of MLK as they strive to model their unique leadership after him.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Four ways to lead MLK style:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR VISION AND FIGHT FOR IT
If an important part of leadership is building meaningful relationships with team members, collaborators and colleagues, is it possible to be too caring? Is it really best for leaders to show the people we connect with each day that their concerns aren’t valid? We have all worked for insensitive bosses who aren’t able to see the world from our perspective. They seem to be so focused on the tasks at hand, that they don’t allow anybody’s challenges to get in the way. That type of disconnect can be very frustrating and make us feel that we must always put the obstacles we may be facing on the back burner.