This year has not been easy for individuals, organisations, and nations at large due to the COVID-19 pandemic that visited mankind. Unfortunately, this pandemic has added to the miseries that many people are already beset with, among others poverty and other socio-economic challenges.
People look up to leaders in such times for hope that the future will become brighter. They are yearning for a voice that communicates stability and reassurance that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.
It baffles the mind to find leaders who choose to perfect the art of darkness and continue to put people deeper into their miseries. They dig the hole much deeper for those that are cast into the hole of hopelessness and fear. Such leaders are concerned with protecting their self-interests at the expense of others.
It is time for true leaders from all walks of life to stand and be counted among those who can shine light upon others. Such leaders are few and they have to raise their voices twice as loud if they have to be heard.
Leaders who give a sense of purpose do the following:
They are authentic: As a leader, you can only be authentic to others when you are authentic to yourself. When you try to emulate others, you cannot remain grounded and leadership will always elude you. Authentic leaders have a high sense of purpose and live by the principles and values that help themselves and others grow.
Nurture relationships: True leaders nurture and maintain healthy relationships with those they come across, work, and interact with. They do not use the power dynamic to their advantage and suppress those deemed less powerful. They understand that relationships are not about dominance and making others feel inferior. They connect at a humane level while restoring the integrity of others. We are hardwired for connection and there is no opportune time to connect with people like during turbulent times.
Willing to help: When true leaders say their door is open they mean it in a true sense that invites others physically, mentally, and emotionally into their spaces. I have seen some “open doors that were closed” as manifested by the uninviting tone of voice and looks that can rip through your heart like a sharp object. True leaders are prepared to understand the plight of others and extend a helping hand. They help without expecting anything in return because they always take the interests and concerns of others into consideration. This is critical in these days where people put a premium on assisting others. They pretend to be willing to help but in most cases, it is about what they can benefit.
Connect others to a higher purpose: To give a sense of purpose to others takes acknowledging that people have more than what they believe in and about themselves. Amid these challenges, leaders have a critical role to play in connecting others to high sense-making activities. People might be limited by the burden they see in front of them and may not see the value they may add that can change the course of their lives. True leaders can rally others behind something inspirational and bigger than themselves. One company revisited its purpose during the easing of the lockdown when a few employees were allowed to return to work. The leader of the cleaning division took his team through a process of redefining what their work meant for the organisation. The outcome of this exercise was phenomenal, and employees started to see their work beyond cleaning the offices to restoring health for themselves, their colleagues, and their families. The leader indicated that at the beginning, “employees were fear-ridden but through this exercise, their resolve to protect themselves from the virus in pursuit of serving others became bigger. They were no more cleaners, but life-givers”.
True leaders have a responsibility to shine a light on others and connect them to their purpose. Stand up and be counted.
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Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you found value in this article, please be so kind as to share with those close to you.