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A Guide on How to Become an Impactful Leader

Disruptions caused by lockdowns during Covid-19 have left an indelible mark on the psyche of workers. The people returning to the office today are not the same as those who left in March 2020, and they have a whole new set of expectations from their leaders. It has fundamentally shifted the way work gets done and has created a pivotal moment where leadership styles matter more than ever.

The traditional leadership model has had to make way for an impactful leadership style that can better accommodate a workforce with a new set of professional values. Becoming an impactful leader may come naturally to some; think of Nelson Mandela, for example. But for others, it’s a skill that can – and must – be learnt. Let’s dive a little deeper into this. 

What does it mean to lead with impact?

Impactful leaders are positive, empowering, and inspiring. They value their followers and inspire them to perform better. Writing in Forbes, Professor Jonathan Westover, bestselling author and Future of Work Global Thought Leader, lists the competencies that help drive success and make people unforgettable leaders.

  1. Practice emotional agility.
  2. Create a clear meaning and purpose.
  3. Practice systems thinking.
  4. Practice openness and transparency.
  5. Authentically care.

Looking at these characteristics, it’s clear traditional top-down leadership style is out and impactful leaders with a sense of selflessness and an attitude of service to others are in. These new leaders stay calm under pressure and act with compassion and care. Importantly, they see and value every individual’s contribution.

Impactful leaders also tend to have a high level of clarity on their personal principles and values. And these values and principles guide their behaviours, decisions, intentions, and the kind of impact that they have on others.

How do you become an impactful leader?

Being an impactful leader relies on developing the self-leadership skills you need to help you better navigate important, complex, and relational situations. Self-leadership and organisational behaviour guru Charles Manz was the first to use the term ‘self-leadership’ in 1983, defining it as: “a comprehensive self-influence perspective that concerns leading oneself.”  

Self-leadership is seen as the answer to surviving and thriving in an uncertain, volatile, complex and ambiguous world. It enables leaders to overcome personal challenges, boosts their self-awareness, and helps them improve self-direction by learning, unlearning and relearning.

The pillars of self-leadership

The qualities that will most contribute to the success of managing people, processes and targets are those that come from self-leadership. Through our Leading with Impact course, we teach you the six pillars of self-leadership. Here’s what they are and how you get them.

1. Self-identity
What it is: Who is the self that leads?
How to get it: Develop a unique and authentic philosophy as a leader and understand driving purpose, behaviours and self-identity.

2. Self Development
What it is: Mapping your development pathway.
How to get it: Understand your strengths, identify areas of improvement and create a clear growth plan utilising emotional intelligence and self-development in a digital age.

3. Self-Direction
What it is: Knowing what you need to learn, unlearn and relearn.
How to get it: Clarify your vision for the future, understand decision-making styles and build a self-directed organisation.

4. Self-Awareness
What it is: The importance of emotional intelligence and having a leadership philosophy.
How to get it: Understand the importance of ongoing reflection and managing stress in your role and its impact on others.

5. Self-Talk
What it is: Becoming an invitational leader and bringing out the best in yourself.
How to get it: Examine your self-beliefs and cognitive biases and have a clear strategy for handling the ongoing negative chatter in your head.

6. Self Mastery
What it is: Becoming an invitational leader and inviting out the best in others.
How to get it: Examine the seven self-mastery skills you need to succeed: learning to think, learning to intuit, learning to feel, learning to do, learning to communicate, learning to lead, and learning to be.

Learn how to become an impactful leader

If all of this sounds a little alien (but interesting) to you, and you’re keen to start your self-leadership journey, we’re here to help. Our Leading with Impact online course is geared towards individuals wanting to take ownership of their leadership journey, company leaders and entrepreneurs striving to develop their leadership style, as well as managers who have become disempowered as they get stuck between top leadership and employees.

Speak to our team today if you’d like to join us in this exciting and forward-thinking course that will help you develop the essential skills to lead yourself, your employees and your business in a way that impacts everyone positively.

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