By Peter Bewert, Managing Director at Meaningful Care Matters (www.meaningfulcarematters.com)
Leadership! It’s a word that is commonly stated in many different situations. It comes up in personal, professional, social, family, and many other aspects of life. But what does it really mean and further still, what does it really do? Some would say that leaders are part of a bureaucratic chain that seeks to control the lives of us mere minions, con- forming us to societal rules made by leaders who are above the leaders, and the bigger leaders beyond that… bureaucracy at its best! So, many self-help and leadership books assert we must ‘tap into the leader within’, well, what happens when one struggles with deciding what to have for breakfast and praying that we simply make it through the day without inadvertently telling someone to ‘go away’ (usually said with a more uncouth colloquial vernacular in one’s head and on occasions, out loud).
As human beings, we complicate many things all too frequently and most of the time unnecessarily. Leadership is simple. The test of a good leader is whether that person inspires you to make a change to better yourself as a person. Leadership, therefore, is about engagement, interaction, relationships, and connections which are meaningful and that matter. We all have the ability to tap into the leader within. Just as we all have the ability to use our leadership to inspire and empower, or to create a feeling of disenchantment around us. Over 25 years of working in health and social care, I have learnt 4 top motivators of emotionally led leadership. If we embrace these top four principles, we will undoubtedly influence positive cultures where people are real, people are genuine, and people can connect meaningfully:
1. Know Yourself: When we know ourselves and how we like to interact and engage with others, this is the first step to authentic meaningful relationship. This is the foundation of leadership.
2. Know your communication style: Knowing the way you like to give and receive information is important. This allows us to develop our communication styles where we are not so strong and in which others may have as their preference. This allows for better understanding.
3. You are not an oracle: Being open to other ideas and ways of thinking are essential. We don’t know everything and, sure, we can bring our best to the table, but when we truly listen to the collective thoughts and ideas of those who we engage with, that’s how we move from good to great.
4. You have a heart for a reason: People are driven by the heart and soul of their emotions. The difference between good leaders and great leaders is understanding emotional intelligence and the impact of emotions on people and their actions. This means being open to feelings and emotions and learning to not only recognise them, but to also speak the language of feelings.
Culture is an umbrella term outlining the societal norms and behaviours which govern our behaviours. One could argue culture designs us and, in part, this is true. However, culture is shaped by the people with- in. Leaders have the ability to impact culture. The question is, what influence will we exert on moulding our cultures of the future? I would like to think we are all seeking for a better world for ourselves and future generations to experience. This can only come when we embrace agile, emotionally intelligent framework, and this has to come from our leadership styles in action. Feelings, actions, interactions, and knowledge will shape our cultures of the future; we are the designers of the culture we wish to see.
Good leadership begins with self. It empowers self and others to be the best version of ‘me’ and embrace the unique individualism that comes from the diversity of beliefs and cultural practices.
So, what are you going to influence today?
Peter Bewert is the Managing Director at Meaningful Care Matters, a leading care and organisational development group that specialises in helping health and social care providers to access a variety of support services. The group helps to facilitate the creation, reinvigoration and sustainable implementation of person-centred care cultures where people matter, feelings matter, and we are ‘Free to be Me’. Contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.