Have You Mastered the 6 C’s of Leadership?
Everyone has the potential to be a leader in the workplace, regardless of their role or whether they manage staff or not. Leaders are people who know what they stand for, take initiative, and speak up in a way that inspires and motivates others. When you’re a leader, people look to you for guidance and support in achieving your mutual goals.
I have used the 4 C’s of leadership over the years in assessing my performance and that of my staff. However, I’ve recently revisited and amended this list to be the SIX C’s that, in my mind, define an effective leader and reflect what I am seeing in how successful businesses are run in today’s professional landscape.
Master these, and regardless of your title – YOU are a leader!
Build and maintain connections with your boss, peers, and clients. Be curious about them professionally and personally. Truly listen and get to know them – how they think about your business and their goals. Put yourself in their shoes and understand their perspective. That includes taking the time to hear about their family. Be a trusted and valued friend, and you’ll be a trusted and valued colleague too.
Develop your communication skills. We communicate daily but do you speak and write in a clear, brief way that enrolls others in your thinking and sparks their passion? We often take our daily interactions, including text and slack messages, for granted, but every exchange is a communication. It is your career, and communication matters, particularly in your work environment. Over time, you set the tone of who you are and what you are capable of becoming.
Grow your knowledge and competency in your field. Become the person in your department that your work colleagues rely on, from understanding workflow processes to the strategy to achieve goals. Be the go-to for how things work in your department or whatever is vital to your team. Life-long learning is a hallmark of a great leader.
Demonstrate confidence in yourself and your work. Share your point of view and be willing to back it up, even when it is at odds with mainstream thinking. Have the confidence to take on projects that may not be in your comfort zone, allowing you to grow your skillset and increase your exposure within your company and industry. All of this is to say, push yourself, even at the risk of making a mistake. Have the confidence to admit to your mistakes and share a willingness to use them as a learning opportunity. Great leaders have confidence, and an unwavering belief in themselves, even in the face of missteps.
Strive for consistency in your behavior by being your authentic self every day. People respond well to predictability, so be mindful of showing up as the same person each day and as someone people can count on. We all know, and might’ve worked for, unpredictable leaders that everyone around them starts the day by asking, “Is today a good day for her?” Don’t be THAT leader.
Learning to manage your emotions and stay calm when dealing with stressful situations goes hand in hand with consistency. Making the best calls for your team and yourself regularly comes down to being even-minded, solution-oriented, and approachable.
Dig deep into your heart and mind. Do you have a conscience? Great leaders must “do the right thing” for their staff and company. They have integrity and value honesty. These leaders focus on the greater good and not their agenda. Often, this last C is overlooked in the short term. However, you are in your career for the long haul. Over time, if you want to earn trust, respect, and support from those around you, a conscience is a requirement.