Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Laurie Foster, Founder of Foster Strategies Group, and a super connector in our industry. Laurie and I discussed the essential elements that make up leaders and how we can harness more of this power as we head into the New Year. Below are 4 power moves from our discussion and simple ideas to help you map out a powerful blueprint for the coming year.
If the lamp in your living room does not have an outlet to plug into, the chord is useless. The same is true for connection and drive for today's leaders. As you move into this next year, ask yourself where you can plug in your passion to generate the most power? Is your passion your people, your process, the places you find inspiration, or like Laurie, your ability to connect people to make magic happen. Laurie believes that being around the people we are supposed to be around, those that light us up and build that fire within our hearts and minds, represent the best in us.
Who are the people who bring out the best in you? Write a list if you have to and then figure out how you can connect to your own power source this year to bring about your best talents and abilities. Just like your living room lamp, people will be attracted to the light you generate.
Sure, 2020 sucked eggs, but most of the leaders I know saw the challenges as opportunities for growth. They tried to make lessons out of the hardest part of this challenging season so they could make better decisions moving forward. True leaders see hardship as a part of the game of life and they keep moving. Laurie explains it in this way, "There is a thing deep within leaders where they know everything is going to be okay. It doesn't mean they aren't ever left out, it doesn't mean they're the best at everything or they don't experience loss. It represents a positive outlook and a realization that they can affect outcomes. That affecting outcomes part is at the heart of leadership."
Do you believe you can affect outcomes? Which ones? Think through the outcomes you can affect: your own career, your staff member's future, the growth path for a person you are mentoring. Whose outcome do you want to affect and how will you go about it in 2021?
Jot down the traits of the leaders in your life and a list of adjectives and then once you've done that, think about how they made you feel. The main adjective you will find is respect. Respect means you can turn to someone in your darkest moment and they will be there for you. They help you ask, how did we get here and how can we get out? Don't mistake respect for popularity – they are not the same. Leaders also display kindness and then most importantly, they exude vision. These are all the traits that make up great leaders – respect, kindness, vision, and a willingness to bring us all along for the ride. Laurie best sums this up when she says, "A true leader is someone who people follow because they want to, not because they are forced to."
Make a list of the people who you think of as leaders. What adjectives come to mind? Write them down. Can you put more of those adjectives into your own actions on a daily basis? How will you plan to do it?
Leaders are accountable. They make promises to themselves and they keep those promises. If they screw up, they admit it, and try again. I like to think of it as failing forward. Nothing is a failure as long as you learned a lesson. Sometimes that lesson is as simple as, "Let's not go down that road again." I'm going to end with my favorite quote from my interview with Laurie. It's all about accountability. She says, "Remind yourself of who you are and who you are not. Remind yourself of who you are supposed to, should, or could be and hold yourself personally accountable to fulfill all of that. Be honest with yourself because that's the way you can get better."
Who are you and who are you not? If someone asked you your core values, would you know the answer? Take a few minutes to sit with your answers and then create an action plan to put your authentic self in play this next year.
As we launch into 2021, I want to leave you with one last thought. I read a post the other day that recommended we lightly tiptoe into 2021, don't scare the year and make too much noise. The post ended with, "And whatever you do, don't say 2021 is your year."
I disagree wholeheartedly. This is going to be OUR year, automotive! Let's get after it.
Listen to the podcast inspired by this article
Laurie Halter is the Founder of Charisma! Communications, a successful automotive PR firm, and host of the Carearing podcast where she explores work/life balance issues for leading females. She has a passion for business and entrepreneurship, but what really gets her jumping out of bed in the morning is sharing her experience balancing life, work, and motherhood.
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