Becoming an effective organizational leader starts with being the leader of your own life. Where you are in life is the result of the choices you have made along with the way. This includes health and well-being, relationships, career choices, finances, and making decisions in alignment with our values, mission and purpose. As a strong organizational leader, you must take 100% responsibility for your choices and the results you get as well. Having worked as a healthcare leader for over 25 years, I have found there are specific things leaders can do to become effective in their roles.
- Be laser focused on your personal, professional and organizational goals. As a leader, you are expected to deliver outstanding results. It is important to take care of yourself. Exercising, meditating and practicing mindfulness all 40 have a very positive impact on your ability to focus. Just 5 minutes a day of practicing mindfulness can bring about a sense of calm and enable you to better focus. This can easily be done between meetings. Make this practice a non-negotiable and part of your morning routine. You will be surprised at your ability to feel more in alignment with your day.
- Build strong relationships with your boss, direct reports and key stakeholders. Devoting time, energy, and effort to develop and build relationships is one of the most valuable skills a leader can do to be effective. Having strong relationships builds trust and credibility and is foundational to be an effective leader. From a business perspective, building strong relationships can be referred to as social capital.
- Lead by example. As a leader, you are always on stage. People watch what you do more than what you say. In fact, within the first 3 seconds of entering a room, you are being sized up. Credible leaders demonstrate a high degree of integrity when their words and actions are in alignment with their intentions. Walk your talk so you become a leader other want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they create distrust. People follow those they trust.
- Invest in yourself. Pursue continuing education to remain current with industry trends, read professional journals and books, attend conferences, and find a good mentor and/or coach to help you become your professional best. If there is a gap in any management competency area, be sure to 41 address that gap with the support of a mentor and/or coach. The right coach that has walked a similar path and has enjoyed career success can change your future trajectory and make a huge difference with your career.
- Cultivate balance. It is fundamental to the quality of your life. In addition to your career, include dedicated time for health and well-being, family, friends and recreation. Take time off from work on a regular basis, even if it feels like you can’t. If you put all your time and effort into your career and neglect the other areas of your life, you could be putting your health at risk and compromise relationships with the most important people in your life. If your job is eliminated one day, you might look back and wonder what all of that work was for and regret the important parts of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment. Much of our internal unrest as leaders can lead back to how well we live up to our personal values, mission and purpose. The old adage is true that all the magic happens right between our two ears. Our thoughts have immense power in how we show up and how we react to our environment and stressors. Becoming a more effective leader is well within your reach by focusing on what really drives you to be your personal and professional best.