Apr 19, 2019 | Your Business, Your Relationships

Control-freaks...there’s still hope! [Plus 6 Keys to being a better leader]

I can clearly remember my junior year of college. I was just named Student Body President and I was filled with ideas and was blind with optimism. That same year, I served as a Resident Assistant for freshmen and student representative to the University Board of Trustees.

I wanted to be a leader.

I craved opportunities to make a difference.

And I can distinctly recall my flavor of leadership back then. I was filled with great ideas but I  didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t get on board and fall in line with my master plan.

At that time, I believed leadership meant I was the one who came up with the ideas and everyone else would align with my opinions and ideas.

I talk to lots of leaders who can relate.

For example, I was speaking with a woman recently who is in a leadership role in her organization. She too was craving change and was full of innovative ideas that could bring her company to the next level.

But instead of talking about those ideas, she spent the entire duration of our call complaining about her boss and her staff.

I reflected to her that the difference I could make for (and with) her was in who she was becoming and what she could do differently vs focusing on others and their shortcomings.

I sought her agreement to take talking about anyone other than herself off the table for the duration of our call.

She agreed, but she literally could not do it. She immediately reverted to her complaints.

It is exhausting being around people who don’t have a sense of personal responsibility. Who blame others for why they can’t fully lead, or why people don’t get on board with their ideas.

Leadership isn’t about leading perfectly, but it is about owning up to your faults and letting the world see you do that.

When we create an environment where everyone’s voices are welcomed the entire work environment changes for the better.

Here are 6 Keys to Becoming a More Effective Leader

  1. Ask for what you want as a leader, but don’t be attached to the outcome. 
  1. Empower others to be accountable to themselves. When we give others the power to own their process and the outcome, it will surely lead to an occasional strikeout, but it might also lead to a grand slam once in a while too. 
  1. Get curious about when you first learned you didn’t get what you asked for, or you couldn’t ask for what you want. How did that make you feel? 
  1. Take risks to be a part of something larger than yourself. 
  1. Be brave and boldly put yourself out there in pursuit of what you want. 
  1. Be fierce, impassioned, take up space, be known, and go forth. Full out. Ask.

I wish I knew in my Junior year what I know now. I’m sure I would have been much more effective as a leader. But I’m learning every day. Are you?

What would you add to this list, or who could you encourage with this post? I’d be honored if you passed it along to a friend or colleague.


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Empathy for Change with Amy J. Wilson

I am so delighted and thrilled to have my esteemed friend, Amy J. Wilson here with us today. Amy is a change leader, community builder, movement maker, and an empathy advocate. She is the author of Empathy for Change: How to Build a More Understanding World, a guide to create positive, compassionate change where we work, live, and play. All of this guides our conversation as we cover the different types of empathy and why they are important, dismantling current power structures and rebuilding them with empathy at the core, prioritizing rest, and so much more. Being empathetic does not mean you lack power, and this episode is going to tell you why – enjoy!

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