Leadership creates isolation. You are perceived and judged through the multiple lenses of those who report to you and those you who lead you. What others share with you is filtered through their conscious and unconscious needs. No matter how mistakes occur, responsibility for those missteps rests on your shoulders.
Being a leader means that fulfillment rarely comes from others. Praise is short-lived and can feel hollow and insincere. Your life is driven by the need always to be on, be ready, react and respond. Each morning is another rush to begin and catch up with what you missed while you slept – if you slept. When you allow your life to be ruled by people and events, your leadership can easily deplete and cripple you mentally and physically.
However, when you own your leadership role, you create meaning by empowering and impassioning yourself. To move forward and expand your leadership potential, you must connect to and use four essentials: belonging, passion, purpose and failure. Consciously focusing from within gives meaning to yourself and your leadership – meaning that inspires you to evolve and others to follow you.
Essential One: Belonging
Belonging is a fundamental human need. Without it, your leadership lacks meaning and limits your drive to succeed. Creating belonging begins with you and requires that you acknowledge that you are your role and your organization. Owning your leadership allows you to create meaning within your job and add value to your larger work community. When you take pride in using “we” to describe your work and your role, you know you belong.
Essential Two: Passion
Your work consumes the majority of the waking hours of your adult life. The investment is massive. Your leadership may at times drain you physically and mentally, but it must also energize and excite you and feed your passions. Passion is contagious. Passionate leadership inspires others and draws people forward. Without passion, your leadership lacks meaning, becomes routine, and blocks creativity and commitment. If you are not feeling energized and excited about your work and your role, it is time to pause, reflect, and reconsider what feeds your spirit and gives meaning to what you do.
Essential Three: Purpose
Passionate leadership walks hand-in-hand with purpose. While your passions energize you and your team, leading with purpose provides assurance and commitment. Purposeful leadership requires that the values and mission of your organization mirror your own, not just in the words of a written statement but within day-to-day policies and practices. Leading with purpose compels you to act, to influence and to lead with integrity.
Essential Four: Failure
Even at your best, your leadership will encounter failure in many forms. In many ways, it is how you deal with the failure that adds meaning to who you are as a leader and makes your leadership meaningful. Leading through failure is an act of creativity, opening up opportunities for new ideas that can revolutionize your work and expand possibilities. Embracing failure as a natural part of productivity creates leadership that fosters risk and energizes passions. It builds stronger bonds of belonging, allowing for ongoing learning and promoting the dynamic energy of a growth mindset.
When you lead from within yourself, fostering the four leadership essentials of belonging, passion, purpose and failure, you create meaningful leadership that expands your potential and inspires those you lead.