Practice, Practice, Practice

How does one communicate their authenticity and ability to lead to others effectively? Can you just show up and say, “I’m here. I’m a leader. Let’s go.”? Is there some badge you wear when you’re ready that says, “Certified Leader”, so that everyone knows we are capable of leading them? 

Not always that simple, right? That’s because we communicate our leadership to others via the practices that help us lead. 

Leadership is all about practice. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t titles and roles that we might have or seek or be given that act as badges in a way. And yet, when any one of us steps into those roles, people are looking at the ways that we show up, the ways that we take action, the ways that we practice leadership in order to evaluate how they engage with or follow or collaborate with us. 

So what are those practices? We’ve developed a list of 15 leadership practices that when studied and learned and practiced effectively can truly transform any one of us into a leader who will be recognized as such through our actions. Here they are:

  1. Listening Deeply

  2. Engaging Joy & Humor

  3. Living Compassion & Kindness

  4. Being Present & Generous

  5. Practicing Observation & Non-Judgment

  6. Connecting to Higher-Purpose

  7. Communicating Values

  8. Identifying Feelings & Needs

  9. Hosting Conversations

  10. Holding & Honoring Boundaries

  11. Understanding Choice & Control

  12. Dealing with Dualities & Paradoxes

  13. Navigating Power Dynamics

  14. Being Accountable

  15. Practicing Forgiveness

Now, you have the list! Maybe you’re thinking, “This is my magic wand. I’ll review these tonight and tomorrow show up in a new or different way.” I hope you’re inspired and thinking that… truly. And the challenge here is to really dive into these practices as we would a workout regiment. Doing 15 pushups tonight will not radically shift our arm strength and core, and yet doing 15 pushups every night and getting feedback and support in refining our form will over time fundamentally change our arm strength and core.

So, if you want to take your practice to the next level, I’d say you have a few amazing options:

  1. Conduct a rigorous self-assessment: how are you doing in each of these areas? Get out a pen and a journal and begin to reflect. After journaling on each of the areas, if you find yourself unsure or curious to learn more, ask people around you for feedback, do some research, and set up a workout routine of sorts for the practice areas that you need to hone better.
  2. Get a coach: an executive coach, leadership coach, mentor, advisor… someone who will listen deeply, challenge you, support your reflection, and leave the choices up to you!
  3. Find a training program: sign up up for a leadership or personal development program in a community that will help you develop greater awareness and understanding of yourself in the particular practices that feel like a struggle to you.

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