The path to becoming a leader is never clear. You may arrive at a leadership position by luck, opportunity, hard work or even because of a disaster. It is precisely because of this that many people, as they begin to transition into leadership roles, begin to search out the leadership story of others. From the stories of others we can understand our own leadership contexts and challenges — identify patterns and similarities, and determine how we can apply these lessons to our personal and professional challenges. However, as I have stated on many occasions, for the leader, learning never ends — hence the never-ending line of business and leadership books populating the shelves of airport bookstores.
Now, of course, there are some great blogs and articles that provide leadership advice. One which was recently voted as the best leadership blog is Steve Roesler’s All Things Workplace. Take a look through the archives on Steve’s blog and read through some of his posts and you will soon realize he not only brings a depth of understanding to his thinking around leadership, he also provides practical tips for how you can begin applying this to your own approach to leadership.
In this article, Steve discusses how you can boost the impact of your communication by thinking in threes — facts, emotions and symbols. It is a great read. But what he explains so well is the importance of the power of leadership stories to humanize the leader and to engage your teams. Remember, especially if you work in a large organization, many of the people you come in contact with will only know you by your announcements, “communications” or presentations (or worse, because of the box with your name in the org chart). One of the most important aspects of learning to lead is to bring a sense of authenticity to your dealings with people across your company. As Steve explains:
The word Authenticity is used frequently as a trait to be desired and valued. But you can’t possibly connect authentically without acknowledging how you feel about the situation you are describing. If you stick to the numbers or the steps in your plan, you aren’t connecting.
Perhaps a good example of this in action is background-foreground communication — where you share something that has been pre-occupying your thinking. But no matter how you decide to activate a factual, emotional and symbolic relationship with your teams, one thing is clear — the aim is to create a leadership story in which you can allow your colleagues to play a role. This perhaps, is the hardest lesson of all!
Nina Nets It Out: No matter where you are in your career, we can always learn more about the art of leadership, and Steve Roesler’s All Things Workplace blog is an excellent resource for all leaders.