How do you know if you’re ready to lead or influence others? Many leaders would say that you’re never really ready, or certainly don’t feel like you’re ready and perhaps always feel a bit unprepared. So, what can we do to prepare ourselves to lead with humility and vulnerability?
We believe leadership is influence and everyone has the potential to influence others. Whether we realize it or not, we’re influencing one another all the time. At Leadership Vision we don’t judge whether one’s influence is healthy or unhealthy, generative or degenerative. One’s environment does that quite well for them. What we do encourage is that people influence out of their uniqueness, beauty, and brilliance with the purpose of bringing light and life into their work.
As you prepare for your next moment of influence, we ask you to focus on four things to better understand how you might approach any situation. Today on the Leadership Vision Podcast, Brian and I are going to ask how your education, experience, expertise, and environment have shaped your emotional connection to others and ultimately your ability to influence and lead.
Why Emotional Connection is Important
Your effectiveness as a leader is measured by your ability to emotionally connect with those you are influencing. Emotional connection is your ability to be available to others. To share in their successes, failures, and vulnerabilities. It is simply being authentic, available, and willing to guide another person along the shared journey of leadership.
So, how is it that you can better understand your potential for transformational influence through emotional connection? By digging into these four things, we believe you will better understand your capacity to connect with others, through the story of your own life.
How has your education shaped you? What is your educational background? Are you a life-long learner? Think about the formal and informal educational experiences you’ve had. How has your educational experiences, whatever those may be, helped you to create an emotional connection with others when you’re a leader?
For me, my undergraduate education is in Computer Science, but I also have a master’s in Leadership. I spent a lot of summers working in IT at a help desk. Often I found that people would come to me asking me to fix a certain technical problem, but since they didn’t really understand the issue, they didn’t know what they were asking for. I would often be able to create a connection with them by taking the time to listen and trying to understand what they were really trying to do. Then solve that problem. This continues on to today in a variety of roles in my life.
What experiences are the ones that you carry with you now that you try to replicate with others? It could be a professional experience, a personal experience (like with family), places you’ve volunteered, tee-ball coaching, mentorship, people that you’ve helped out, etc. As you think about all of those life experiences, what jumps out? What have you done in your life that perhaps has shaped who you are today in a profound way?
For me, one of the greatest shaping experiences of my life was working at a small University in my early 20’s. Working with college students who weren’t much older than I was, helped me sort out a lot of my own life questions as I was helping them sort out theirs. This experience has shaped me as I try to approach most personal or professional situations from the standpoint of someone wanting to walk alongside.
What areas of expertise do you have that you’ve seen applied over and over again? What special skill or special knowledge have you acquired through training study, repetition, or practice, that amazes others?
Since a young age, I’ve had the opportunity to speak in front of groups of people. From reading in church, school plays, and professional settings of large and small groups of people, addressing community and school teams, and a variety of other settings. As a result, I’m incredibly comfortable speaking in front of people. Time and time again, I have gotten very positive feedback on my ability to address these groups and make quick connections as I work to make my message heard.
What environments have shaped you? What environments do you create to shape others? Where do you feel most comfortable in your leadership? What type of environment suits you best? Or, think about the types of environments you like to create where others can feel most alive.
For me, I love creating environments that are fun for other people. It doesn’t matter if this is a house party with friends or a client engagement with high-level leaders. I feel most at home and most comfortable where the vibe of the environment is one that is fun. I believe that when you’re having fun, you’re more relaxed and able to be fully engaged and present in whatever it is you’re doing. This can often be a catalyst for growth and change.
As you enter into your own process of self-reflection around these four E’s, share your journey with us! Send us an email, or connect in the blog post or on social media. We’d love to hear how these things impact your leadership.
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.
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