An essential part of understanding how we, as leaders, can best serve others is to first understand that we must know ourselves and strive to become increasingly self-aware. We also must know our triggers, what we believe in, and how we want to act. Being authentic is the access point to our strength as leaders.
True leaders seek to serve others.
As demonstrated at South Carolina Federal Credit Union, the following seven values encourage cohesion in an organization, along with a leader’s ability to inspire others to be the sort of leaders who can rally others to succeed.
- Be Teachable
Being teachable allows us to be open and consider others’ input—especially when the idea is contrary to our inherent ideology. Ask yourself: When something is new and it comes from a perspective you’re not familiar with, do you remain teachable? Far from being weak or inconsistent, being teachable actually enables us to have influence. When we navigate our world with a belief system that says, “New information is important to me,” we model openness and confidence that inspires this quality in others.
2. Have Compassion
To have compassion is to show kindness. Compassion is the way we relate to others. It highlights an emotional connection and emotional intelligence. It’s how we extend the courtesies of imperfection that enable individuals and groups to have the confidence to strive forward without being hampered by the concept of flawless precision or the fear of making mistakes.
3. Extend Grace
Grace is the free and undeserved help we give others. Through this process, we regenerate and inspire virtuous impulses to impart the strength of body, mind, and soul. Those we lead do not have to do anything or fulfill a requirement in order for us to offer grace. Instead, we simply want to think of how to serve those we lead as if they are the only ones who matter. By default, when we extend grace, we’re also demonstrating gratitude.
4. Seek Truth
Leaders must also seek the truth. When we operate from a perspective that’s grounded in truth, we are better equipped to navigate conflict. Conflict typically stems from opinion; resolutions stem from truth. Jack Welch declared it a leadership hallmark when he said, “Face reality as it is … not as you wish it to be.” Seeking truth means that, as a leader, we face reality. Within an organization, seeking truth insists the leader also have a high level of accountability.
5. Show Humility
When we operate from a position of humility, we show respect for others and take their viewpoints, feelings, and contributions into consideration, which establishes value between individuals and groups. This type of leader shows kindness and demonstrates mannerisms that convey he considers and respects others.
6. Exhibit a Pure Heart
This may sound too esoteric for the business world, but I interpret being pure in heart to mean having a pure intention. Am I genuine? Am I authentic? There is a gulf between a leader who operates authentically and one who operates synthetically. We shouldn’t ask how an employee is doing if we don’t intend to truly listen and potentially act on whatever information is offered. We don’t say only what we think others want to hear, and we don’t necessarily do what others want us to do. Rather, we act appropriately in order to produce the type of results that situations demand of a leader.
7. Bring Peace
Lastly, effective leaders are peacemakers. We create a harmonious space in which everyone works together. We do this by bringing two opposing forces into a space that neither force previously occupied. We create compromise that is consistent and that everyone agrees to. When individual leaders polarize their followers, peace within the culture or within the group is almost always unachievable. Peace exists to eliminate dysfunction and unrest. It is what establishes and solidifies cohesion. Therefore, rather than choosing sides within an organization, all sides work together.
How are you implementing these values in your daily life? How are you implementing them in your company? What are the values your leadership is exhibiting and how does the team respond?