Leadership is a journey that evolves over time. It is often glamorized as a destination while some aspects of the journey get overlooked all together. The truth is, it’s not a destination and it’s not always glitz and glam. Effective leaders are ones who constantly seek ways to improve, develop and make a deeper impact.
Effective leaders are ones who constantly seek ways to improve, develop and make a deeper impact.– Debranetta Howard, Career Mom Community
If we work to understand and learn from the hard truths about leadership, we can take a more holistic approach to our leadership development journey. Some lessons are uncomfortable, but they make us better in the end. I encourage you to not shy away from these hard truths. Instead, embrace them, lean in, and collect tools for your leadership toolkit along the way.
Jeff Bezos said it best, “I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” This is also true for great leaders who are innovative, champion change, and navigate uncharted waters. This notion will serve as our anchoring point for today’s post… Let’s dive in!
The truth is, not everyone will understand the weight of responsibility that comes with being a leader. Nor will some comprehend the leader’s vision if their own personal thinking is limited. It’s important for leaders to not allow misunderstandings to deter them from moving forward.
Personally, I am very strategic and analytical; these are a few of my greatest strengths. It allows me to see the big picture while simultaneously identifying risks that can stifle opportunity. Because I emphasize caution when risks are identified, others can perceive pessimism or that I am “raining on their parade”. As the leader, my job is to help elevate the team’s thinking and create an atmosphere where we collectively advance. This is often easier said than done and can be met with criticism and skepticism. To push through this challenge, it’s important to acknowledge great ideas even if they are not leveraged in the end. This is also a premise of inclusive leadership.
Inclusive leaders strive to create an environment where all voices are heard and appreciated. However, you may encounter individuals who do not appreciate differing viewpoints which can lead to misunderstandings of varying degrees between the leader and the follower(s). To help your team better understand the direction you are taking them communicate clearly, document goals, and focus on the best interest of the team.
Leadership Tips and Advice
Here are three (3) additional tips to help you succeed if you find yourself in a leadership situation where you are misunderstood and/or you’re facing push back.
- Be ok with being different. Leaders naturally stand out, whether they have a formal or informal leadership position. They think big and dream big! Don’t shy away, go deeper! If you are an emerging leader, I encourage you to check out the Leadership Blog Series: Emerge Mom Boss.
- Learn to communicate in different ways with diverse individuals.
- Lead with authority and lead with conviction without allowing the negative opinions of others to deter you. Reflect on the Jeff Bezos quote and allow it to resonate with you. Being misunderstood sometimes is the price you have to pay in order to innovate, change, and to lead.
I hope you will add these nuggets of wisdom to your leadership toolkit and that they will help to grow on your leadership journey.
Leave a comment and let me know what other aspects of leadership you feel need to be discussed more frequently.
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