Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Invincible Leadership

Volume: June 2021

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
   - Albert Camus
 
Pardon me as I wax poetic to begin this newsletter. Not only do I like Camus as an author (I am not alone, he won a Pulitzer way back when), but I really like the concept of invincibility. We are in the dog days, you know – in more ways than just summer. So how do we begin to even think in terms of invincibility? Well, take a peek at the following four areas and see what happens.

  1. Evaluate your leadership karma. It is easy to pick out ineffective leaders. They have little followership and are usually disguised as a worker-bee with a title. True leadership does not carry a title. Many of you know people who greatly impact their workgroups or organizations, yet do not possess a leadership moniker. Make certain that you are exhibiting real leadership – real guidance – and not just using title or authority to move people in a desired direction.

    Lesson for Leaders: “Leaders impact culture”TM. Evaluate your influence and make certain it is universally positive. Due to the hybrid work world, ensure that you are connecting effectively virtually as well as in person.
 
  1. Accentuate the positive. No, no I will not break into the lyrics of an old Jimmy Durante song. How many of you have even heard of Jimmy Durante? Rather, my point here is to take stock of your positives. In other words, catch yourself doing things right. Make certain that you are aware of your strengths and the qualities that make you terrific. This may sound like an odd request, however, a lot of leaders second guess themselves and their decisions. Reflection is fine. Make certain you reflect properly on just what makes you valuable. Understand it. If necessary, ask other people you respect to give you their candid opinions. Have you ever received a personal testimonial that just blew you away? Right. You are really good. Don’t forget that.

    Lesson for Leaders: Understand your shortfalls, but not at the expense of abandoning your strengths. Seek to subtly expand your core competencies and then hold on to your hat. Magic!
  1. Visualize invincibility. Somewhat difficult to do when faced with a myriad of leadership challenges, isn’t it? Yes, challenging situations may expose a few weaknesses and sometimes shake our confidence. If you have experienced this at all, now is the perfect time to take a deep breath and find a quiet place for five minutes. The core concept is this: “We can only change our circumstances by changing our state of mind.” Close your eyes. Take a few more deep breaths. Oxygen is good; it is a natural relaxant you know. Now put your mind in a place where you are ultra-successful. It does not have to be a business environment, just some real experience where you were great, and strong, and powerful, and felt invincible. Maybe it was yesterday. If so, bravo for you. Once in this mental place, examine your body language. Was it more positive than what you exhibit now? What about your manner and frequency of communication? How did others respond to you when you felt invincible? Keep asking yourself comparison questions. If there are disparities between that and how you currently behave, take it as a cue to initiate subtle tweaks in your leadership style and manner of communication.

    Lesson for Leaders: If you can dream it, you can live it. Give yourself the luxury of a 15-minute mental exercise that may allow you to jettison negative head trash, while unlocking the notion of positive possibilities. 
  2.  Reinvent your organization’s model. To be clear on this one, reviewing your staffing situation and tweaking or cutting to save expenses is NOT adjusting your business model. Well, okay, it does adjust your organization, but not in an elegant manner. What reinventing your organization’s model refers to is examining the market, taking stock of your resources, reflecting for a moment on past experience and trends, and creating a cohesive strategic model for your company or work unit. Your reinvented model should fit today’s environment, and be valuable for the next 18-24 months. No disrespect to anyone out there, but many of you (okay, almost all of you) are running as fast as you can with your heads down and making important decisions on the fly. These on-the-fly decisions may reduce your stress level when they are made, but in the medium run their impact often carries some uh-oh moments.

    Lesson for Leaders: Be strategic about the structure of your organization, the direction in which you lead, and the actions in which you request your team members to engage. 
Bottom Line: Help your team achieve break-out results by being an invincible leader. Stay authentic. Leaders should never attempt to be something they are not. Reflect, learn, and be strategic. Raise your leadership bar. This will help you to strengthen and subtly enhance the culture of your organization. You are strong. Get even stronger. Until next time, be well.    
 
Doug Van Dyke is an  executive coach, leadership development expert, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, or to have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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