Ninety-one percent of millennials aspire to be leaders. What kind of leader do millennials say they want to be? Ones who strive to empower others, plan to use a collaborative leadership style, seek to lead with purpose, desire to give back to society, and do meaningful work.
How is success against those leadership goals measured?
In many tangible tasks and activities, performance can be quickly assessed. A professional creating a new spreadsheet, for example, can receive immediate feedback by looking at the results. This helps inform what adjustments can be made for the next one.
But most leadership activities are different. Leadership is rarely a repetitive behavior and is never a solitary activity. By definition, leadership is about people. In their classic leadership text, The Leadership Challenge, authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner present research about which behaviors followers consider most important in their leaders. Survey respondents cited four characteristics over 50 percent of the time.
Unlike creating a spreadsheet, these qualities are largely intangible, and success can only be assessed over time.
It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently. -Tony Robbins
So how are you performing as a leader? Some of the only data available to people entrusted to your leadership on a daily basis is how you look and sound. Your pace when you walk into a room, the eye contact you make with others, your hand movements, facial expression, and vocal quality all communicate nonverbally-for better or worse. These behaviors shape the perceptions others hold of you.
Appearances matter. Do a self-audit. How are you perceived?
Is your body language and vocal quality communicating that you're honest, forward-thinking, inspiring, and competent? Or do you, like many busy people, unintentionally and nonverbally communicate qualities such as impatience, disinterest, insecurity, incapability, or uncertainty?
How do you know if you're performing well in areas that don't allow for immediate feedback?
Long term, your legacy will ultimately confirm your leadership performance. In the short term, exemplary leaders realize that influencing the perceptions others hold of them as they exercise leadership is critical.
Do you look honest? Do you come across as confident, competent, and inspiring? Can people tell you are forward-thinking?
Invisible Tool conduct a self-audit
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