6 Ways to Build Stronger Leadership Skills

6 ways to build stronger leadership skills

Melbourne Classical Radio - In this article, I'm going to talk about how to improve your leadership skills. When I talk about leadership skills in this article, I'm not talking about delegation or holding people accountable or any number of really commonly talked about leadership skills. 

I'm going to go a few layers deeper and really talk about self-leadership and the ways that you can influence yourself so that you can naturally be a better leader even without a whole bunch of tactics.

What I am talking about is leading from an authentic and aligned place rather than from domination or from manipulation or even persuasion. What I'm talking about is the kind of leadership that inspires other people and enrolls them into your vision and what you're up to. 

You ready? Let's go. So, there are 6 essential E's of leadership. So, each of the 6 items starts with the letter E. 

The first E is energy. 

Your energy as a leader matters and what I mean by energy is the energy that you're projecting out into the world. What I'm talking about is the energy that projects out from your heart actually. 

Now, I've talked about this in other videos, I'm going to briefly share with you again that whether we are conscious of it or not conscious of it, the truth is that we project our emotional state out into the world through our hearts signal. 

What does that mean? By the way, this is science, this is not woo. This has been studied and measured scientifically. What that means is that our heart sends out an electromagnetic signal and electromagnetic wave and waves generally are the most powerful encoders of information. 

Think about your cell phone operates on waves, your radio waves right there, are all sorts of different waves that convey information and the wave that our heart sends out is the information in that wave is our emotional state. 

So, we're literally projecting our emotions out into the world. So, as a leader, it is fundamental to understand what is the energy we're projecting outward and what that energy is that emotional state that's determined by our internal state. 

So, however we're feeling, that's what we're projecting. And it's not just about how we're feeling because we could have a sad day and we're not projecting out a horrible emotional state, like it's okay as a leader, as anybody to have up's and down's to have moments but if we have a way of being that's frustrated, irritated, angry, resentful, shamed, guilty, any of these emotions if they become part of who we are and our natural default emotional state then that's what we project out into the world and people respond to that. 

Whether consciously or subconsciously, the science shows people can perceive, they can feel that wave. So, as a leader, one of the most fundamental things we can do is to cultivate positive emotional states like gratitude and love are 2 of the simplest that we can tap into. 

The 2nd E to leadership is emotional mastery. 

Emotional mastery is mastering our ability to create the emotional state that we want so that what we're projecting out into the world is intentional, so that it's not just accidental, so we're not like bringing all of our baggage and our dirty laundry out into the world with us, that we're being intentional about the energetic a signature that we're sending out into the world.

So, when we have emotional mastery, then we are projecting in a different way and our emotions really color and flavor our words and our speaking. You know it sounds completely different when you're talking to somebody who's in an elevated emotional state, who's positive, who's happy, who's joyful, who's grateful versus talking to someone that's in blame or victim mode, right? 

So, cultivating our own emotional state not only influences our energy but also our expression in the world, which is one of my later points that I'll get to in a bit. Now, here's the thing about emotional mastery. That doesn't mean that we don't feel our feelings. In fact, quite the opposite. 

One of the problems in the world right now that I see and that I've experienced is how many of us avoid and distract from our feelings and bury our feelings in food or alcohol or gaming or shopping or any number of things achievement even. 

And so, when I talk about emotional mastery, it doesn't mean whipping yourself into a positive emotional state 24/7. What it means is a few things. 

Number 1, it means feeling the feelings when we have them, allowing those feelings to be felt because what we know is that when we feel the feelings, when we're with them, when we give space and time and grace to feel them, generally, they move through us like a wave and when we do that again and again, it's like cleaning ourselves out and we open ourselves up to gratitude, to nurture, to love, to all these beautiful wonderful emotions. 

So, emotional mastery doesn't mean never feel bad feelings, it means to feel them, to make space for them so that we can move through them and then open up to these other positive more emotional states. 

The 3rd E for leadership is embodiment. 

Now, I'm not going to risk trying a picture of a human body, I'll just do a stick figure. Embodiment means that we live it, that we live our leadership. Meaning that we walk the talk, that it's not just empty words, that we live by the values that we speak about, that we are the model of our vision, of our mission, of our message in the world. Embodiment is about who you're being in your leadership much much more than what you're doing in leadership. 

The 4th E in leadership is engagement. 

And I'm going to use 2 little chain links to represent engagement and what engagement is- or oh, you know what, that looks more like a pair of wedding rings. Engagement is the connection with others. 

It's the give and takes. It doesn't really work for a leader to be all fully embodied in their energy and have emotional mastery at the top of the mountain with nobody around. Part of leadership is being with the people, is listening, is connecting, is receiving from the community that's being led. 

And so, engagement is a big part of leadership and allowing for those channels of openness to receive as well. A leader cannot be in a vacuum, a leader has to exist in the world, and since the world is constantly changing and evolving and the people are the best access to what are the new things needed, what are the evolutions that are happening. So, a great leader, empowered leader is someone who is engaged with their community. 

The 5th item is what I call enrollment. 

Now, before I describe exactly what enrollment is, let me tell you what it isn't. It isn't an entitlement. Entitlement is a type of leadership that's based on title or power or position. It's like, "Well, I'm the boss so you have to do what I say." 

Now, that works to some degree but we have to hold a really tight leash on people for that type of leadership to work. Enrollment, instead, I'm going to use this to denote enrollment. Enrollment is about bringing people into the fold. It's about leading with some sort of vision, it's about creating something so compelling that people want to be a part of it. 

You don't have to dictate, you don't have to force, you don't have to persuade or push or manipulate because the vision is so compelling that people are like, "Yes! I want in. I want to be a part of that." So, that's enrollment and that's a really powerful type of leadership. It's self-sustaining, it draws in new people naturally. 

You know when you're cracking the whip, people want to leave, they want to get the hell out, but with an enrollment type of leadership, that way people are always rolling in, they want more and they bring other people in as well. 

And then the final E of leadership is expression. 

And when I talk about expression... and when I talk about expression, I'm talking about it on a variety of levels. On the more intimate level, I'm talking about the type of expression that occurs between 2 people which is truth-telling. It's not standing as my mentor says, not standing with someone in a lie. It's being honest and speaking the unspoken. 

On the small scale, it's about having enough respect and love for somebody that you're willing to be honest and tell the truth. On a grander scale, expression is about sharing your leadership with the world, with speaking it into existence, with claiming it, with declaring it, with being open and out there about what you believe and what your leadership is all about. 

And that might seem obvious but I cannot tell you how often I come across somebody who's like, "I want to lead. I want to be a powerful leader," but then they're actually scared to speak up about something, they're afraid of being criticized or rejected. 

They want everybody to like them and by the way, this seems to happen more often with women than with men in my experience. There's a desire to be liked and to please everybody and when we do that, that's not real leadership because there's no way to express yourself about something that's important and meaningful without having some people disagree for the most part. 

And so, being in leadership necessarily means being an expression and not being afraid to be seen and heard and even criticized sometimes.

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