How Would You Define Leadership?

Is it leading with respect and responsibility? Is it empathy, humility, transparency and mastery? What about leading with courage, accountability, motivation and influence? You could grab hold of any, a combination of these traits or all of them and you would not be wrong. It’s not a right or wrong question either, but my belief over the decades of being led and leading is they’re incomplete. Leadership defined is a process of intentional influence resulting with a favorable impact in the context of a relationship.

An Elegant Leader, one who leads with Voltage, demonstrates a number of characteristics listed above to intentionally influence people one-at-a-time in order to move a division, a company, a family or a global organization forward. The key word in this definition is intentional.

What comes to mind when you see the word intentional?

A parent encourages and implores their children with the intent to live a life of abundance, of confidence, humility, generosity and gratitude. Just as a parent guides their children, the leader appeals to the people they lead to grow and develop into the potential he or she sees in them. The words reinforce what the behaviors teach everyone, imparting their wisdom so we may be the best version of ourselves personally and professionally. There is no hidden agenda in this manner of Leadership. It’s Elegant – simple, powerful and practical – it’s graceful. The purpose is clear and authentic. Think about the circle of influence entrusted to you – your work, your family, your community.

What is your over-riding purpose guiding your influence in each of those areas?

What makes your influence intentional?

In leading intentionally, there’s one critical point many people miss entirely. Leadership is not a singular implementation of a common set of values and beliefs that moves an organization forward. Elegant Leaders with Voltage understand leading and leadership is a shared process and there is a constant emphasis on the leadership team. Additionally, there’s a second key point often overlooked; simply stated it’s the word “among.” Among to the Elegant Leader means in the midst or surrounded by those they’re leading. Elegant Leaders lead through what we describe as a “low power-distance.” They do not allow their position or title to create a barrier between them and their employees, their people, or their followers.  Authorities lead by rank and title establishing a ceiling – a barrier between them and everyone else.

“When we toss a baseball-size rock into a lake, what happens?”

In B-school and in my early career, my seniors would absolutely emphasize not getting too close to the people I was leading. What horrible advice! By choosing to be “among” the team, a leader is known by their followers. Call it intimacy. This natural model of building a relationship allows the team to individualize according to the needs of each one. We discussed the importance of empathy and perspective as key leadership modes. How else, as the leader, are you going to encourage and implor each one of your people if you’re not “in it” with them? Elegant Leaders don’t utilize a OSFA (one size fits all) approach of leadership. Voltage comes from personalizing their leadership style and communications to fit each individual team member in the same way you celebrate the uniqueness in each child in your family. You’re intentional about drawing close to the people you lead.

How much more value is there in leading a team than leading as a Lone Ranger?

Are you leading up close and personal or do you maintain a distance with those you lead?

How do you personalize your leadership for each member of your team?

As we examine a new approach to leadership, some Elegant Leaders we work with have been characterized as Legacy Leaders. A Legacy is not just something we leave behind when we die or when a company dissolves or when another acquires it. Rather, it’s what we’re living and working with now. Elegant Leaders are charged with leading in such a way other generations see the positive impact made now and for generations to come by their example.

At Brookestone Associates, we have a proven track record of delivering High-Performance Leadership Academies for companies all over the US and Canada and these groups tend to incorporate Legacy Leaders along with Emerging Leaders. In several situations, we’re delivering these groups separately, and in some, the two groups of leaders are integrated. In both iterations, the profound impact on these generational leaders has been consistent. Let me give you an image to help unpack the idea of influence with impact. When we toss a baseball-size rock into a lake, what happens?

Initially, there’s a big splash followed by a continuous ripple out from that initial point of impact. Much in the same manner, an Elegant Leader makes an initial, big splash – the immediate impact the leader has. And, that initial splash continues to radiate or ripple out representing the ongoing impact of Elegant Leader. Many who follow these leaders are energized deeply and become imitators or reflections of the leader in their own style. However, the impact doesn’t end here!

The imitations become examples over time for others who believe what they believe. That’s what a successful company is – a group of people who believe what you believe. That’s what a culture is –  a group of people who believe what you believe. That’s what a country is – a group of people who believe what you believe. Without saying anything, the ripple effect demonstrates the main idea of Elegant Leadership. These Elegant Leaders with Voltage are intentionally influencing others and understand by doing so, they are developing additional leaders now and in the future who will then emulate them. Isn’t it your responsibility as a leader to grow more leaders?

The initial wave of followers then become examples for others who they are intentionally influencing. Through this ongoing process, Elegant Leaders have an impact now – an initial splash that ripples out and continues to have impact for workforce generations to come. Our Leadership methodology is a process of intentional influence – leading with a purpose that has Voltage. As the Elegant Leader, you have the power to change people’s lives for the better and to lead them to walk with high-value worth delivering exponential returns. Elegant Leaders lead with this clear purpose in mind. It is the guiding framework for all they do and the criteria for measuring the effectiveness of their leadership. The true measure of an Elegant Leader’s effectivness is the changed lives of their followers.

How will you shape the spheres of influence that have been entrusted to you?

How has your leadership grown in the area of intentional influence?

Who will you intentionally invest in?

How’s your ripple?

Why become an Elegant Leader? Because you’re better than the results you’re getting today. Because you know your relationships are lacking something. Because, at the end of the day, your ego is not what it used to be. Whether, it’s too large for what you’re delivering, or it’s not as confident as it once was. Maybe it’s easier for you, for one of your team or several emerging leaders to attend one of our High Performance Leadership Academies and learn what Elegant Leadership is all about. Click here.

Perhaps you’d like more information about Elegant Leadership with Voltage or what Elegant Leadership can do for you, your team and your organization, feel free to contact me with your feedback, thoughts or to discuss your ideas or contact me directly 205-482-2177. Thank you for your willingness to Become an Elegant Leader. If you’d like a FREE copy of the eBook on the 7-Steps to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage, click here, and you can download a FREE copy.

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