Marlene Chism, executive coach and author of No-Drama Leadership, offered her advice on how to elevate your leadership. She emphasizes who you need to be in order to achieve these simple, but often neglected, “to-dos,” quoting the former CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, saying, “We have spent half of our lives learning how to do, and teaching other people how to do. But we know in the end it is the quality and character of the leaders that determines the performance – the results.”
Here are our favorite tips from Ms. Chism:
1. Build Trust
To build trust you must start by being trustworthy. This means making a habit of doing what you say you’re going to do. You don’t tell people you’ll get back to them without actually doing so. You are truthful, but kind. You don’t give undeserved praise nor use honesty as an excuse to express anger. Building trust requires a high degree of awareness and intentional actions.
2. Master your thinking
According to Ms. Chism, humans think over 60,000 thoughts per day and over 70% of those are repetitive or negative. If you’re constantly focused on what’s not working, you’re creating new neurons just for the purpose of negativity. Use your will to be a positive force to master your thinking.
3. Use powerful language
Your language has the power to make you and those around you weak or strong. What do you discuss more: what’s working or not working? The possible or impossible? To use powerful language you must practice new habits of talking and thinking.
4. Set appropriate boundaries
One of the top reasons for both workplace and personal drama is due to the lack of appropriate boundaries. To do this you must forget people-pleasing and pay attention to your own emotions. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or resentful, it’s likely you have a boundaries issue, causing you to sacrifice your own productivity and needs to make others happy.
5. Connect and communicate
As much as we all want to multitask, it’s just not possible. You must intently listen to concerns, pay attention, and have a dialogue. Make the time to do this daily. While it may seem like you’re taking up more time initially, you’re actually saving time by getting it right the first time. And bonus, you’re also building loyalty.
6. Promote empowerment
You don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to ask good questions. When you trust your employees you are showing them they are smart, they have answers, and that they are resourceful. Ms. Chism says, “When you find your choice you find your power. Leaders who promote empowerment stop rescuing others and instead, help others find their choices.”
7. Invest in yourself
Don’t wait for your company to buy you that book, purchase it yourself. Listen to podcasts, attend conferences, or pay for coaching. By taking the initiative to invest in yourself you are showing that you have an attitude of personal responsibility rather than an attitude of entitlement.
8. Dial up certainty
This keeps everyone calm and productive. To dial up certainty keep an open line of communication and keep everyone updated regularly. Uncertainty breeds gossip and the tendency to protect one’s turf. If you want productive employees, update them regularly.
9. See more for others
When you see more for someone you also expect more from them. Leaders who see more for others don’t see people as positions. For example, he is just a cashier. Speak in a way that reminds your employees of what is possible and keep them inspired to reach his or her potential.
10. Model course-correction
This is as simple as admitting when you make a mistake, or taking ownership over the part you played in a problem. Doing so will encourage your employees to fully embrace personal responsibility. The result will be employees who are willing to accept responsibility and accountability without fear of judgement.