Research examining the characteristics of innovative federal leaders to determine their common leadership traits reveals that they demonstrate “great resilience and vision” and are “all able to network and collaborate effectively across stovepipes within their agency and across sectors.” This is a result of making the choice to focus your heart and mind on adopting a discipline that will energize your people and help them do more than just work hard. Your discipline will help them go above and beyond with common direction, energy, vitality, harmony, and spirit. Following up on my posts about the Signs of Effective Leadership and Four Attributes of Effective Leadership, here are three choices you can make as part of adopting a stronger discipline.
Build your relationships
Effective leaders build relationships, and relationships are the core of their networks. New and maturing bonds expand those networks. Leaders who choose to build bonds naturally cultivate and maintain extensive informal networks. Seek out relationships that are mutually beneficial, and then build rapport. Choose to be less protective of your own time and agenda, and accept more requests to help or work cooperatively with others. It’s all a balancing act, and I encourage you to balance your own critical work with helping others as you build accounts of goodwill with people across your sphere of influence.
Unite people and ideas
Make your vision a shared goal. By engaging the hearts of everyone in transformation, you can prepare your folks to share accomplishment, which would not be possible if all or most of them were not motivated by a sense of connection to something bigger. If they are connected to something bigger, they will want to be better colleagues, helpers, mentors, and even leaders themselves. This is a real transformation that will lead to greater levels of performance and a more complete and effective organization on all levels.
Leverage your networks
Effective leaders build networks, and strong networks require trust. Networks that you build on trust can be the most supportive allies in your efforts to lead people to greatness. There are many advantages to having well-developed networks. Leaders who leverage their networks have an immense time advantage over those who have to use broader, more general sources of information to find answers. It’s estimated that for every hour a well-connected individual spends seeking answers through a network, the average person would spend three to five hours gathering the same information. Your network can also help you influence others because your network’s endorsement creates added support and credibility for your idea. A network of contacts is crucial personal capital. Among effective leaders, what benefits the individual also benefits the group. The network of contacts you choose is, in fact, a wealth of knowledge, support, and goodwill that you bring to everyone around you. Build good bonds throughout your career and build a leadership network full of people outside of your daily circles who can contribute to a variety of your bold goals and enhance your leadership story.