December 22, 2023

Broken to Better: How to Lead for the Future

What truly defines a strong leader? Is it inherent talent or a skill honed over time? In my experience, effective leadership is a blend of both natural ability and continuous development. A strong leader possesses certain innate qualities, but also relentlessly commits to nurturing their skills, especially in the face of adversity.

We put this belief to the test during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many businesses, we faced unprecedented challenges that threatened our very existence. It was a period that demanded extraordinary resilience and adaptability, not just from me but from my entire team. We had a skeleton crew, each member clocking in over 70 hours a week, driven by a dedication that was nothing short of remarkable.

This experience was a stark reminder that true leadership is not just about guiding a team through the good times but, more importantly, steering them with confidence and empathy through the most challenging periods.

Here are some practical tips to help you hone your leadership skills and learn to inspire your team.

1.  Reflect on Your Motivation for Leadership

Why do you want to be a leader? It’s not just about wanting to be at the helm, it’s about knowing why you want to be there. It can determine the direction of your leadership journey and how it impacts those around you.

When I launched Branded Group, I knew I wanted a profitable company, but I also wanted to create a place where people felt genuinely valued and supported. This vision guided every decision, shaping our company culture.

True leadership transcends the title. It’s a commitment to positively influence and nurture your team. It stems from a genuine desire to foster growth and well-being within your organization. This approach not only creates a strong, supportive work environment but also builds an atmosphere of trust and authenticity, which is essential for any successful leader.

2. Embrace Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Openness to feedback, both positive and negative, is a hallmark of strong leadership. It’s only through honest assessment that leadership and the company grow. 

At Branded Group, we regularly ask our team for their thoughts on how we’re doing. We use surveys to get their opinions on our company culture, the way we do things, and how we lead. The feedback from these surveys helps us see where we need to change and improve. We’ve learned a lot from what our team has told us, and it’s helped us improve our company over time.

While it’s not easy to hear criticism, listening to it and acting on it are vital for your growth as a leader. This approach has not only enhanced our workplace atmosphere but also reinforced the importance of authenticity in leadership. And it’s paying off at Branded Group.

3. Cultivate Integrity and Trust

At the core of inspiring leadership lies the cultivation of integrity and trust. This means you do what you say you’re going to do. While a basic concept, it’s the foundation of what makes a good leader. 

Maintaining trust has been foundational in building strong relationships within the BG team and with our clients. It’s about being a leader who is not only reliable but also genuinely committed to the well-being of those you lead.

As important as honesty is, leadership is about aligning your actions with your words. This alignment fosters an environment of trust where team members feel secure and valued. Over the years, we’ve focused on being transparent in our dealings and consistent in fulfilling our commitments. These practices have enhanced our internal team dynamics and strengthened our external relationships.

A leader’s credibility is a fragile yet powerful asset. Once damaged, it’s challenging to rebuild. Therefore, protecting your reputation through consistent and ethical behavior is paramount. By upholding these principles, you inspire those around you and set a standard for what true leadership should embody.

Lead for the Future

True leadership goes beyond guiding a team. It’s about setting a standard of excellence and integrity. At BG, we hold ourselves to the same high standards we offer our clients, ensuring that our actions speak louder than words. This commitment to authenticity and trustworthiness is the cornerstone of our success and the foundation for inspiring future leaders.

By leading with conviction and a genuine desire to make a positive impact, we achieve our goals and inspire those around us to reach their full potential. Leadership is not just a position; it’s a journey of continuous growth and unwavering dedication to the values we cherish.

Want to become an inspiring leader? Check out my consulting services and discover how to Be Better.

This piece is based on a chapter of Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership. The book is dedicated to business leaders seeking to improve their company for their employees, clients and communities. Download/purchase the full book here.

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