Introducing the Eight Pillars of Grounded Leadership
I love numbers. Whether it’s looking at leadership statistics, budgeting for my business or counting the days until my next vacation, I am surrounded by them on a constant basis. So it’s a good thing I have a healthy relationship with them, right?
I also believe numbers can hold deeply symbolic value beyond their use for counting, weighing and measuring. Take the number eight, for example. To me, it’s a very pleasing figure to look at and meditate upon. You may have noticed, too, that the number eight, when turned on its side, is essentially the infinity symbol.
When I think of the infinity symbol, I often conjure imagery in my mind of the head and the heart working together and constantly seeking balance.
So it’s no coincidence that my signature leadership presentation, The Grounded Leader, is built upon a foundation of eight prime concepts. The essence of The Grounded Leader boils down to the combination of the head and the heart.
In my opinion, today’s leaders need to be balanced emotionally and with regard to their temperament. They must also be able to engage with the members of their teams in ways that are much different from how leaders operated in the past. Modern leaders benefit from the usual characteristics, like charisma and intelligence. But their respective skill sets are not complete until they master essential “soft” skills such as active listening.
I see many leaders who have the raw skills and talents to be truly grounded in their leadership. They just need help putting perspective on what’s required of leaders in the contemporary landscape. I developed the framework of the Eight Pillars of Grounded Leadership to help leaders with this process. Today I’d like to share them with you.
Let’s take a look!
#1 – Self Awareness and Mindfulness
Do you ever feel like you are “stuck in a rut” with your leadership? You are not alone!
Feeling stuck, or on “auto pilot,” is one of the most common concerns I hear from leaders. They have routines that they feel powerless to break away from, or habits that seem impossible to break. The key to getting out of ruts like these is the formidable one-two punch of self-awareness and mindfulness.
To become a Grounded Leader, one must strive to be present in every moment.
#2 – Leverage Your Intuition
In this era of data and statistics, trusting your “gut” or operating out of your instincts might not feel like the most reasonable thing to do. Every aspect of every decision can be analyzed from endless angles, so there is no reason to leave any decision up to intuition, right?
I say that couldn’t be more wrong! And guess what? Science backs me up.
The gut acts as a secondary brain and contains neurotransmitters and cells just like we have in our brains. When you get that visceral feeling in your gut, that is your intuition talking to you – so tune in! How often have you ignored your gut intuition only to be disappointed after the fact – why didn’t I listen to my gut!? You were right; you just didn’t trust yourself enough to ask more questions and dig deeper.
To become a Grounded Leader, one must recognize, nurture and utilize their intuition along with all the other tools at their disposal.
#3 – Inspire with Your Message
Authenticity is like gold these days. It’s truly a precious commodity, especially in the world of leadership, where people are often swayed by trends and highly publicized “best practices.” Being truly authentic means following your personal North Star, not what someone tells you is the right thing to do.
For leaders, being authentic is directly related to their ability to inspire with their message. When leaders understand who they are and what they stand for, they communicate clearly and effectively. There is no confusion about what they want or why it needs to be done. That’s because they walk the walk and talk the talk.
To become a Grounded Leader, one must inspire with an authentic message.
#4 – Total Accountability
One goal of every leader should be to create a culture of total accountability. Unfortunately, that’s not possible when leaders fail to be accountable themselves. To me, being a leader is about holding yourself and others totally accountable for thinking, behavior and performance.
With full and total accountability, a leader’s role is easy. But leaders need to model accountability and what it looks like for their people. They also need to be able to balance consequences with compassion. Everyone makes mistakes. The key is to coach people to become more accountable rather than to punish them into compliance.
As a Grounded Leader, one must practice total accountability before demanding it of others.
#5 – Live in Service
Leaders tend to fail when they make their leadership about themselves. As a leader, you have to have a fundamental understanding that it’s not about you. It’s about serving others.
Leaders serve others in a variety of ways. They provide guidance and support for the next generation of leaders. They model patterns of thinking and behavior that are adopted by the people on their teams. They have tremendous influence within the walls of their organizations and their communities, where others look up to them.
Grounded Leadership is not possible without a commitment to serving others.
#6 – Be a Coach
Leadership and coaching go hand in hand. However, many leaders have trouble finding the right frequency, or the right approach to communicating with their people. Often times, they fall into patterns of barking orders and making communication a one-way street. But coaching isn’t about telling people what to do; it’s about observing, listening, helping and creating outcomes that would not be possible without the leader’s intervention.
As a leader, one of your primary goals should be to develop your people and help them grow. Doing so requires you to be a coach. Telling people what to do is not coaching; that’s more like management. To get to your next level as a leader, you have to transcend the urge to command others and replace it with the desire to coach them to greatness.
To be a Grounded Leader, one must communicate as a coach.
#7 – Create Deep Connections
In a professional environment, it is necessary to have boundaries on the types of relationships that develop. That is critical. But I also believe that organizations only prosper when people are able to develop deep connections with one another. That doesn’t mean being inappropriate or erasing the crucial boundaries people have between their personal and professional lives. Rather, it means being present with your people and getting to know them as human beings.
People want to work for leaders who care about them as people. When team members feel like their leaders see them only for the productivity they can provide, their morale plummets and their performance suffers significantly. But when leaders develop real, meaningful relationships with their people, magic happens.
Grounded Leadership requires leaders to create relationships that matter.
#8 – Claim the Big Picture
Here we are at the magic number eight. This is where the pillars of Grounded Leadership come together and form the foundation for a new level of excellence. Claiming the “big picture” is all about pulling back to take on a larger perspective and connect the dots. When leaders claim the big picture, they recalibrate themselves and are able to retrain their focus on what’s really important. Then they can convey the message clearly to their people.
Notice how this pillar of Grounded Leadership is not called “Seeing the Big Picture.” I use the word “claim” because it’s up to leaders to take control of where their organizations are going. They are the ones who have the power to change the complexion of the big picture. First they have to see it; then they have to claim it for themselves and their respective organizations.
To become a Grounded Leader, one must think strategically from a high level and claim the future they want for themselves, their people and their organizations.
Are You Ready to Become a Grounded Leader?
Do these eight pillars of Grounded Leadership resonate with you? If so, I invite you to participate in my Grounded Leader webinar series, which begins on February 25th! This is the first time I am presenting this important concept in the webinar format, and I am very excited to share it with you.
Are you interested in attending? For more information, simply click this link. I hope to see you there!