There are many leaders in my life who when I look back I say, “I am because of you”. These are the type of leaders who made me feel good about myself and because of them, I never gave up. I went for my goals like a lion going after a gazelle.
One case in point is Dr Nepo Masithela. He was one of the senior lectures in my under-graduate degree studies and he was known for his passion for education as a subject. Despite him being a senior lecturer and I was in my second year, he would come to me and say, “Mr Hlalele, I value your opinion, what is your take on how to make my approach receptive to everyone in the lecture room?”
What I also liked about him was that he would say, I am not going to leave this room if I have to leave someone not understanding what I taught. We either stay here or you pick a slot in my diary to have one to one with me.
Another such leader was Cobus. In less than 9 months after joining the company, I was selected by the university where I was doing Masters Studies to attend a conference in Vienna, Austria. The university was clear that they do not have funds to sponsor me. Cobus did what many leaders would not do especially given my time with the company. He said to me, I am going to sponsor this trip and refund your costs for the third year, which I had paid on my own. He said I see value in you, go learn in Austria and come make a difference.
When I look back at these simple examples, I realise how they have shaped who I have become and how I show up as a leader.
Effective leadership is about adopting a mindset that everything you do directly or indirectly affects someone you love. What Nepo, Cobus and other leaders did by making me feel good about myself was setting the foundation to help others to believe in themselves.
Imagine if what each leader did every day was influenced by a mindset that what I am doing today with the people I have the opportunity (you are not entitled to lead) to lead will affect my children, family or neighbours, my community and even the country in a positive way. This would bring a massive change to how we lead others.
It is easy to make people feel bad about themselves and withdraw from their emotional bank account. Here are some common causes of withdrawal:
- Inaccessible as a leader
- Always finding faults in your followers
- Not listening to alternative views
- Putting your employees down in front of others
- Stifling growth opportunities
- Not recognising the contribution of others.
These are examples of gaslighting behaviours meant to make people doubt themselves and feel worthless.
You cannot get more out of your leadership without depositing more. Effective leadership is about building the emotional bank account of the followers through interpersonal bonds necessary for leadership continuity.
Warren Wilhelm says that “a leader’s ability to remember aspects of follower’s personal lives, thereby showing his or her interest, is one of the glues that cause followers to continue to bond to the leader”
Here are some examples of how leaders deposit into their followers’ emotional bank accounts to create a strong and lasting bond:
- Lead by personal example.
- Serve by choice
- Become the leader they want to follow
- Catch their followers doing something right most of the times
- Give constructive feedback
- Promote a sense of belonging
- Create growth opportunities
- Allow learning by trial and error
- Open to new ideas
You can only do this as a leader when you believe in constant personal growth. You need to be deliberate about knowing and managing yourself.
If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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