3 Steps to the Leader in You

Woman Leader
July 8, 2019
63 / 100

By Linda Carpenter Smith, PhD, Carpenter Smith Consulting

One of the things that I have come to trust that there is a leader in every one of us! Not just the people with the title and role, but all of us who are leading our lives, our families, our work efforts.

Leadership is defined as the willingness to influence your world and be influenced by your world, regardless of your role or your title.

Think about it – when you lead, you step in and influence your world – you don’t stand on the sidelines with your arms crossed complaining or stomping around blaming others. And, when you are influenced by your world, you listen and respond, you don’t just roll over others.

We know there is a leader in you and that practicing these three steps – or even one of these three steps – will change your impact in the world because when you are leading, you are able to matter more to yourself and demonstrate to others that they matter to you. And, mattering does matter!

Step 1: The Fundamental Pause

Step one is a pause – the fundamental pause – because it is truly fundamental to creating impact and success. A pause may look passive, but it is actually a powerfully active process. When you pause, on the outside you may be taking a sip of water, walking to the bathroom, or organizing your papers but inside you are asking yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do in alignment with my goals?”

Those goals may be personal, like the desire to feel proud of your behavior, knowing you responded like the leader you are versus reacting to a situation or challenge out of fear. Or they may be large organizational goals like getting the team aligned behind a core initiative.

The most effective leaders are not reactive to their world but respond to it with choice and confidence.

Step 2: Reflect to Understand Yourself and the People You are Leading

When reflecting on your experience and the experience of others, always ask a question about fear. We know that fear is the biggest derailer in creating success. Many of us don’t feel it as fear, but may feel frustration, anxiety, or unsettledness (and if those words are more comfortable for you, feel free to use them!) What we want you to understand is that our brain signals fear very quickly – when we feel stressed, challenged, or in a situation reminiscent of an earlier challenge, etc. – so while you may not feel it as fear, it’s important to understand that to most of us, fear is very powerful.

So, in Step 2, when we ask you to reflect, we ask about your fear, and we ask that you take a guess about the fears others may be experiencing.

By doing so, you will become more in touch with what may be going on in you and what may be going on for the people you are leading – increasing your empathy for both your own “messiness” and the “messiness” of those you are leading. And, that’s important because there is no sugar coating it: We are people and people are messy.

The most powerful way to quickly reflect on what is going on inside of you is to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What am I afraid of in this situation?
  2. What do I typically do when I’m afraid?
  3. What would I do if I felt safe?

And, then do this! This is where your leadership sits.

With these three simple questions, you quickly know a lot about what is going on inside of you and how to move forward.

The act of leadership is doing what you would do if you felt safe. Sometimes that means consciously choosing to ignore the fear so that you are acting at your best, even if you don’t yet feel it!

Others

The most powerful way to understand what is going on in others – to have greater empathy and gentleness toward others in their struggle – is to explore what might be making them afraid in a particular situation. As a leader, you will have the greatest impact if you can even make a guess at what is rocking the people you are leading and reflect on what will help them feel safe enough to move forward at their best.

You use the same three simple questions, plus one, to quickly guess what is going on inside of them and explore how you can move forward to increase their sense of safety enough that they can join you in leading.

  1. What are they afraid of in this situation?
  2. What do they do when they feel this way?
  3. What would they do if they felt safe?
  4. What can I do to help them feel safe?

And, do this! This is where your leadership sits.

The act of leadership is to understand that we are all messy and your role is to help the people that you are leading feel safe enough to be at their best.

Step 3: Act with P.O.W.E.R.

There is a lot written about leadership and much of it is specific to running an organization or working within a specific industry and all of that is important. Yet, at the core, there are five things great leaders do. And we have seen time and time again the impact that these five actions can move an effort forward and accelerate success.

  1. Possibility: Great leaders look for the opportunities inherent in the obstacles and challenges. They trust that there are always opportunities.
  2. Own it and Share Why it Matters to You: Successful leaders are committed to creating success and know that sharing why that success matters to them as the leader is inspiring to others.
  3. “We” Focused Goals: Effective leaders are always creating a sense of a ‘we’ – alignment behind the vision and commitment to the path forward.
  4. Enable Action: Leadership is all about action – even if at times the action chosen is to sit tight and assess.
  5. Review and Refine: Seasoned leaders know that it’s never one and done so are disciplined to review the success of actions taken and refine quickly – as often as needed – to create success.

If you think of these three steps as a circle, then when you review and refine you are essentially taking a pause to ask, is what we are doing in alignment with our goals. And, you start the circle again. That’s leadership. Your leadership.

I’d love to hear how you practice these steps of leadership in your work, relationships and personal life. Is there a step that you think is the most impactful in your success?

3 Steps to the Leader in You 1Linda Carpenter is a leading expert in creating powerful transformation in individuals, teams, and organizations. In her role as co-Founder, Thought Leader, and Sr. Consultant of Carpenter Smith Consulting, LLC, she has spent more than 20 years working across industries to accelerate leadership effectiveness and create cultures of leadership and engagement including the “Leader in You” model on which this article is based.

Categories

More Posts:

How to Demonstrate Your Leadership Skills in the Workplace

Are you looking to become a leader in your field? If so, you need to know how to demonstrate your leadership skills in the workplace. Many people think that leaders are born, not made.  This is simply not true. Anyone can learn the skills necessary to be an effective...

17 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read

 Even the most talented managers can learn something new. Self-improvement is a journey of discovery that can help you manage your teams more effectively. Reading is a highly valuable learning process any leader can do. Through reading, you’ll learn: how to understand...

How to Create More Motivated Employees at Your Company

Motivated employees will be more productive in the workplace. They will also be more likely to stick around longer, which is beneficial for your company. To create more motivated employees at your company you can provide a healthy work environment, reward employees,...

How Business Leaders Can Better Connect With Their Employees

For many entrepreneurs, it often feels that they aren’t really making meaningful connections with their employees while they run things behind the scenes. Good leaders know that forging a bond with those you work with is a key to success, but it can be hard to find...

How to Decrease the Burden of Healthcare Expenses on Your Employees

Healthcare expenses can be a burden to your employees. Luckily, there are things you can do as an employer to help decrease this burden. Here are a few ways to help your employees with their healthcare expenses and support them the way they support your business! Pick...

How to Make Key Employee Benefits More Affordable

In the current job market, it can be difficult for employers to be competitive for the top applicants. Offering great benefits is one thing you can do to increase your chances of making a positive impression on the applicants you are most impressed with and decrease...

How to Make Employees Feel More Comfortable in the Workplace

Employees feeling comfortable in the workplace is important. When they feel comfortable, they will feel more satisfied with their work and will have better work performance. To help your employees feel more comfortable you can encourage employees to speak up,...

Business Crises That Require an Immediate Response

If you are a business owner, then you have likely had to deal with a business crisis at some point in your career. But for new business owners and operators, when a business crisis comes up for the first time, you might be treading water trying to figure out what to...

7 Tips to Balance the Demands of Modern Business Leadership

Have your team members become stagnant or disengaged in their work lately? Are you hearing lots of sighs and grunts from the office every time you pass by? Well, now might be the time to reassess and reform your leadership strategy.   We know how challenging it...

Tips and strategies to wake the leader inside of you

Time changes fast and with every passing second the dynamics of the corporate world too. Even though we’ve left those times of gender stereotypes behind us where a woman’s role was limited to home and not in the office or they weren’t confident or heard enough to...
How to Create More Motivated Employees at Your Company

How to Create More Motivated Employees at Your Company

Motivated employees will be more productive in the workplace. They will also be more likely to stick around longer, which is beneficial for your company. To create more motivated employees at your company you can provide a healthy work environment, reward employees,...

How to Make Key Employee Benefits More Affordable

How to Make Key Employee Benefits More Affordable

In the current job market, it can be difficult for employers to be competitive for the top applicants. Offering great benefits is one thing you can do to increase your chances of making a positive impression on the applicants you are most impressed with and decrease...

Business Crises That Require an Immediate Response

Business Crises That Require an Immediate Response

If you are a business owner, then you have likely had to deal with a business crisis at some point in your career. But for new business owners and operators, when a business crisis comes up for the first time, you might be treading water trying to figure out what to...

All Categories

Business Operations

Entrepreneur Interviews

Marketing, Networking, & Social Media

Self Care & Personal Development

Working Moms

Business Software and Technology

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Organizing Tips

Sales

Career Building

Family Businesses

Inspiration

Starting Your Own Business

Work-Life Balance

Communication

Hiring Help

Management & Leadership

Time Management & Priorities

Women in Leadership

Recent Posts

Annie Anderson – Business Strategist & WordPress Creator

Annie Anderson – Business Strategist & WordPress Creator

Annie Anderson is the owner and digital creator at Midnight Rebel Digital Co. With over 25 years experience in design and development and more than 15 years experience with WordPress, Annie is a great person to have in your corner when it comes to websites, tech, and systems.

How Startups Can Ensure Health and Safety at the Workplace

How Startups Can Ensure Health and Safety at the Workplace

Everyone, including the owners, management, and staff, is responsible for ensuring workplace safety. All parties must take the proper steps so that no one is harmed while working. If you are looking for ways to keep your workplace safe, here are ten tips to help you out.

Product Mistakes You Might Be Making at Your Business

Product Mistakes You Might Be Making at Your Business

Running a business isn’t easy, and making product-related mistakes can cost your company time and money. From creating products without doing market research to holding excess inventory or failing to file patents, there are numerous pitfalls that you need to be aware...

Occupational Hazards That Come With an Office Job

Occupational Hazards That Come With an Office Job

Working in an office can be a great way to make a living, but it also comes with certain risks. Sitting at a desk for long hours and staring at screens can lead to physical ailments that not only cause discomfort but could eventually lead to more serious health...

How to Make Your Social Media Campaigns More Relevant

How to Make Your Social Media Campaigns More Relevant

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. It allows you to connect with customers and followers in a way that was never possible before. However, it's important to make sure your social media campaigns are relevant to your target audience. Here are...

Work Hazards Common Among Office Workers

Work Hazards Common Among Office Workers

Working in an office environment may seem like a safe job, but there are still a variety of hazards that can put employees at risk. Taking the necessary steps to prevent these risks and protect oneself from potential harm is essential for any office worker. Let's...