By Leah McStravick, Senior Consultant
To be a great leader, you are both born and made. You are born with the qualities that make you a leader, including courage and strength, whilst you hone your leadership qualities through trial and error, to become the person you are and the leader you want to be.
So why is positive leadership required not only now, as globally we edge from a world pandemic, but always. There is always a crisis, change is a continuum; culturally, environmentally, organisationally, be it that your product, services, market, people etc., change, but rest assured there is always change.
Recently I have been working with local organisations and small medium enterprises across the island of Ireland, whom have been faced with difficult challenges due to the Covid 19 impact. I have been encouraged with the strength of leadership from within these Companies in terms of courage and tenacity displayed. I was working in the last two months with a well-known NI-Producer of handmade cosmetic products, whereby, prior to Covid -19 they relied on mostly face to face selling and direct marketing. They have now completely transferred their online presence, partnering with other local and relevant businesses to reach a position where production has increased, new products developed and online sales are sufficiently high to create new employment. Their courage, resilience and preparedness to learn through trial and error and sheer determination to succeed, has resulted in a brighter future ahead.
To manage this change in a crisis situation, requires strong, positive leadership, which is focused on Transformation. Transforming the business, transforming the way we work to ultimately create a better and improved experience for your customers and to do so with a sense of community and caring.
The reason people strive to become a positive leader are the attributes gained and exhibited such as: courage, vision, empathy, fortitude, patience, persistence, agility, sound judgement and self-assurance. To be in the presence of someone who exhibits these qualities, is powerful, impactful and memorable. Therefore, when we experience being led through a difficult process, change, personal or professional, we know we have experienced something that we have benefited from. The impact of positive energy and strong effective leadership teaches us, through social modelling that we too can possess these skills. That’s the pull! The need and the desire to develop these skills, to be better, to improve and ultimately to lead and support others becomes our own primary goal.
That can be primal feeling and I witnessed this at first hand working recently with a Client in Belfast, who are well established and leading the way in Augmented Visualisation and Tooling which could be transformative for the tourist experience and provides a platform for a local company to expand globally. The impact of their positive leader in terms of drive, high energy, focus and caring nature for the Team is powerful. This Leader’s impact is so positive that he is missed when not around and that’s something we all know is important, i.e. to check in with your team and to ensure they are supported. Bringing the energy and motivation to the team helps share the load as well as driving and stretching further.
To stay though in that position, there is always continued learning and development work to be done. The mindset of the positive leader is their holy grail. This is the essence of the leader and the mindset is created and designed. It has to be the best, most productive mindset that it can be. Great leaders don’t stop learning, they just get better. One business owner recently commented, “I am always learning!” yet he is revered and respected amongst his peers because of the expertise and knowledge he imparts with his clients. Humility at its best!
Recently, during the global pandemic of Covid -19, we have seen the impact of positive and powerful leadership and we have also seen the opposite. One example of a positive one is Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand, PM. Her attitude and decisiveness towards New Zealand’s handling of the Covid -19 Crisis of “go hard and go early”, mixed with her clear, empathetic language, whilst displaying kindness and asking people to be kind, offered reassurance and confident leadership. Exactly what is needed in a crisis. What we witness in that positive and powerful leadership is their self-efficacious behaviour.
The setbacks and difficulties we experience in life and professional settings, usually serve as a purpose to teach us that success requires strong determination and sustained effort. To surround yourself with people similar to yourself and see them succeed, raises your own beliefs that you too possess the capabilities to master the activities required to succeed.
In short, generating your own positive mindset, controlling the controllables, holding a positive perception of your own self-efficacious behaviour and being open, agile and hungry for learning, results in a confident, courageous and genuine person. An individual that people look up to, regardless of whether you meet them in personal or professional settings, in positions of work, heads of families, etc, you will know that you are in the presence of a strong leader.
Their energy, language, actions and presence tell all. It’s a feeling and one that leaves a positive imprint, one that incites change and a desire for you to “be and do better”.
In short, “Positive leadership uplifts everyone; all it takes is the best version of you”.