One of the best leadership books that I have read this year is a new book by Paul N. Larsen. Find Your Voice as a Leader is a no nonsense leadership guide that speaks directly to the reader, not to the academics. Paul's book offers real life leadership scenarios and offers us guides that offer up thought provoking questions and plans that you can put into place every day. Although I already read this book, I am reading it again and employing Paul's advice in setting some personal leadership goals.
I am an avid reader and champion of leading and empowering people. I want more in a book than just ideas. I want advice and guidance on how to strengthen my own leadership and put me on the path to having an impact on others in my own way.
I encourage you to pick up Paul's book and begin your own journey to stronger leadership. Leadership should be steady and influential. Leadership is not having the loudest voice in the room but building relationships and finding other ways to flex your leadership muscle. Below is a guest post from Paul Larsen to jump start your journey to using your voice to be a stable and flexible leader.
Best Practices To Be Influential And Not Invisible
Cultivate an extensive and respected network. Networking may be a catch phrase from the 1980s, but the concept is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. No one person has all the answers or all the ideas, no matter how intelligent they are. Sharing ideas and goals with others is key to being an effective and influential leader.
Sell ideas and enroll support. Even the best ideas will languish if you’re the only one who supports them. An influential leader needs to also be a good salesperson—to garner support from management, investors, team members, and the community. If you sell your ideas persuasively, others will get on board with your vision.
Identify and remove obstacles to the team’s success. Lead as a facilitator. Another essential part of being an influential leader is clearing away any potential obstacles to success before they can get in the way of your team’s efforts and the successful realization of your vision. These obstacles might be funding issues, personality conflicts, or logistic problems. Removing these roadblocks early means your team can sail right through the project without losing momentum over unrelated issues. Entrepreneur magazine refers to breaking down barriers between team members and leaders as being crucial to leadership success.
Be flexible in your leadership style. The best—and most successful—leaders know how to adjust their style to fit the needs of diverse individuals and teams. One of the most influential leaders I’ve ever met was an airline pilot. As captain of a modern jetliner (and father to this author), he possessed the “position and title of a leader.” But he didn’t lead using his “rank” or his ego. He would treat all his airline colleagues as one cohesive team whose purpose was to fly the passengers to their destination as safely and as comfortably as possible. He regarded all the team members with respect and trusted they would be accountable for carrying out their specific job responsibilities. He believed each individual knew best how to perform his/ her unique role, and collectively they comprised a team that was focused and committed. He would listen to their insights and feedback with a genuine spirit of collaboration before any important decision was made concerning the operation of the aircraft and the carrying of its passengers. Thus, he was viewed as a trusted and respected leader, in the air and on the ground and was missed greatly when he retired after 30 years of flying. Adjusting your leadership style to fit all situations and personalities is essential to influencing your team members to produce successful results. And then watch them fly!
As a successful leader you need to be more than just knowledgeable. You need to be able to influence team members, management, and those in the community—to accomplish your vision. Improve your influence by networking well, establishing trusting relationships, clearing obstacles, and being adaptable to your environment.
Paul N. Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a Certified Professional Performance Coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the Chief Human Resources Officer for a $3 billion organization. Paul partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, start-up, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “VOICE” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts Twitter, and Walmart. Read more about Paul and his latest book, Finding Your VOICE as a Leader at www.paulnlarsen.com.