To lead gracefully is to influence organisational, institutional or even citizens of a nation to achieve or aspire to a higher alignment with the success of the said entity or even just personal/professional growth. Such is the fabric of a great leader. In whatever you do, meticulously see to it that your actions, decisions and words build trust through reliability, credibility and meaningful connection. For this is what it means to lead gracefully in the making of a great leader among other aspects.
This question gets asked a lot yet I feel like it is often answered wrong. See! There are leaders and there are bosses. Whichever you are is most likely determined by the way you talk, think and generally carry yourself. How you treat people and how you react to negative and positive situations matters as well.
But just so we are clear, being a manager doesn’t necessarily make you’re a leader. Neither does barking orders. The people you manage, determine how great a leader you are. And the grace with which you continue to build on your leadership craft determines how great a leader you continue to become.
Knowing your job and being good at your own roles, only contributes to part of your success. The other contribution comes from;
- How well you motivate your subordinates to perform better.
- The way you supervise your subordinates’ activities, roles and duties.
- The kind of a role model you are to your subordinates.
- How you listen, give feedback or deliver disciplinary action to those employees below you that stray off the intended path.
Also Read ATOMIC HABITS: A James Clear Book Review.
If every day you enable a single person to be better than they were the day before, then you my friend are a great leader.
Bosses think they have authority or so they like to convince themselves. But leaders are the ones who have authority, for they gracefully command it without necessarily demanding it.
So what exactly is good leadership and how can organisations build excellent leadership depth?!
Great leaders are graceful. And great leaders are made by the people they inspire and motivate to achieve success. Bosses are broken by the people whose feet they step on or the bridges they burn on their way to success. So don’t be a boss. Be a graceful leader.
To be a great leader, gracefully get in the habit of making informed, timely, decisive choices and articulating your decisions while respecting, crediting, and appreciating those who help and contribute towards your success.
Sometimes you’ll be right, and sometimes you’ll be wrong. But people will respect your decisiveness and stay with you, especially if you back it up with respect and genuine appreciation. So always acting decisively and courageously because executive-level decisions tend to come with significant uncertainty and risk.
Graceful leadership calls for courage to take a stand despite pressure, complexity, competing priorities, ambiguity and resistance. Great leaders champion graceful leadership with the four leadership disciplines; – Setting direction, motivating commitment, driving for results and most importantly continuously developing themselves.
I happen to be part of Rotary and along the way, I have been humbled to take up different leadership responsibilities. I’ve succeeded at some, failed miserably at others, but ultimately learned from most. I can tell you from experience that there is nothing as hard as leading volunteers.
You can’t force them to do anything because you are not paying them and you can’t assume to discipline them because they can just as easily walk away without guilt or second thought.
When you become a leader, you stop working to succeed as an individual and start working to improve systems, processes, and people around you.
To be a great leader means you need to build leadership depth and continuity by mentoring someone, training those under your leadership and above all championing the values that enable those people to be the very best you, your organisation or your nation needs to succeed. This is what makes you a great leader. The graceful construct of a great leader.
Own it. Remember, Employees, don’t leave jobs they like or companies that are successful but rather bad bosses. This is as true for managers as it is for employers. Being able to lead gracefully takes patience and consistent deliberation. Be a great leader.