Written by Eniola Ositelu
“Here you have to run as fast as you can to stay where you are. If you want to get someplace else, you have to run much faster.” -Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland.
LEARN TO EMBRACE CHANGE
Anyone happy with where they were last year is probably not dreaming big enough. The ‘comfort zone’ is more dangerous than we think. One must keep an open mind and observe trends and patterns. Refrain from condemning or shutting down an idea simply because you cannot decipher it, or it does not make any sense to you. That is how organizations and brands in their prime got the rug pulled off from under their feet while they were still posing for pictures on the red carpet.
I am personally aware of friends who visited bank MDs in the early ’90s, proposing ATMs. The general reception was mockery met with resistance. Today, I cannot count how many ATMs each bank has. The top bankers back then did not see this coming; they could not visualize it. The same thing is happening today with Cryptocurrency. As a consultant, I usually tell clients during workshops that a company in decline may have good current sales but very poor prospects. Embracing change and making it a culture is being future-ready.
KNOW HOW YOU INSPIRE
Leadership is about influencing people, and you must start seeing yourself that way. It influences the way you think and act. For example, when I’m being driven, I make it very clear that breaking traffic rules is a no-no for me. Being in a privileged position to serve as a leader both in church and at work, you do not want to run the risk of sending the wrong signals. People may be watching you. Mark 9:42 (AMPC) says “And whoever causes one of these little ones (these believers) who acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin, it would be better (more profitable and wholesome) for him if a [huge] millstone were hung about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”
You probably are already inspiring people but you may not know it yet. If you are not sure, my advice would be to find out how you inspire people, then double up on that behaviour. Find out what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at, then look for people with complementary abilities. Ask people around you too-your spouse, siblings, a colleague at work, church members. You may learn a thing or two from their responses. Your findings will help you mould your authentic self.
LET THE ENERGY FLOW
You want to be careful not to share your worries or anxieties with just about anyone. What do I mean by this? I’m not suggesting you pretend like all is well. The stakes are high and you do not want people around you assuming they are on the wrong ship led by the wrong captain. It is okay to share a few issues that do not undermine your capacity to lead, but ensure that at the end of the day, their belief in your leadership is rock solid. Even in the bleakest of times, always focus on the positive. Keep your constituents engaged and pay attention to the energy levels. If you are a leader at work, for example, get the team focused on the task at hand, not your leadership credentials. That is a distraction you can ill-afford. If they can sense doubt and fear, they may listen to you but not for long. Display uncrushable hope and honesty.
IDENTIFY & COMBAT YOUR FEARS, STRESS
Being a leader does not exempt you from feeling what your followers feel. Suddenly, you’re expected to reach out to more people than usual, depending on your level. It is your responsibility to manage the process. Find out what it is that helps you release your inner tensions, fears, and anxiety. It could be anything from exercise, confiding in a spouse or close relative, delegating more or speaking with a mentor, building intimacy with God by staying in the place of prayer. Effective leaders find whatever it is that will help them release their fears and nurture it frequently to stay grounded.
The tips shared are by no means exhaustive. For instance, staying in the place of prayers and intimacy with God through the word will help with discernment. Still, the points shared here will help a great deal in your daily walk to becoming a great leader.