Did you know leadership means action? I don’t mean staying busy. I mean evolving, strategic, intentional action. If you’re a leader today, I strongly encourage you to consider “status quo” to be your enemy, and inertia to be a de-railer.

I relearned the importance of avoiding inertia recently with my own business: Towards the end of 2023, I realized I had become complacent in a few areas, and my complacency was becoming a threat. It shook me, and jolted me into action.  A quote I heard from John Maxwell really hit home:

“If there is no journey, there is no leadership. Leaders are not static.” 

John Maxwell
Active leadership takes commitment

Once I got over the shock of realizing I had become complacent in a couple of critical areas, I recommitted to learning and experimenting. I used to be an avid reader – devouring every leadership book and piece of practitioner advice I could find. I got away from that, I realized, for too long.

My go-to learning exercise right now is podcasts. My favorites vary, but each is making me think about my work in new ways, and sometimes even re-think long held “truths”. 

I’m definitely being challenged and stretched by the shows I’ve found – as a leadership coach and as a business owner. I’ve shared podcasts with some of my clients too, as a way to help them continue to grow. They speak directly to many of their biggest frustrations with issues like building trust, retention, and innovation, which is a plus.

As I’ve listened, I’ve remembered most of our leadership problems have common threads. One of the points that keeps coming back to me, and the subject of this blog, is the fact that leadership is not, cannot be, static. What worked for you in the past will not be what carries you successfully into the future. And, staying in your comfort zone will crush your credibility and create derailing issues amongst your team.

Leadership means action: Strategic, intentional action, not just being busy.

Karen Pelot
How can you put more meaningful action into your leadership

Glad you asked! 😉 As a start, you can incorporate three of the time-tested habits of some of our most influential leaders: 

<Hint: It begins with your mindset. Once you adjust your perspective, the next best steps become more clear.>

  • Step 1: Take nothing for granted. 

To be influential and effective as a leader, you cannot rely on past accomplishments, seniority, or your historical knowledge. You must continue to learn, grow, collaborate, and evolve, as elements of your character. Model these characteristics for your team, and find ways to grow alongside them.

Be assured, the right to lead is a privilege and must be continually earned.

Step 2: Be willing to give up what “is” for what’s possible.

Maybe you are comfortable. From your view, things may be fine. Challenge yourself to consider: What are others seeing? What if your bias, or maybe fear, is holding your whole team back?

As leaders, we need to have the courage to be willing to give-up what “is” in favor of what’s possible. The idea of letting go of what is may be scary. That’s ok – great change usually is. Letting go of the status quo often means changing how you do things, and that can be uncomfortable in the short-term too. The temporary pain is worth it.

Proactively looking for what’s possible means seeking input, brainstorming, studying, collaborating, and making forward-looking decisions. As noted, leadership means action.

  • Step 3: Realize it’s not your job to have all the answers.

It is your job to surround yourself with people who fill your gaps and compliment your strengths. To do this, you’ll need a good bit of self-awareness, and you have to know your people well enough to put them in positions that fit their skills and the organizational needs.

Letting go of the need to have all the answers is freeing for you and empowering for your team. Show your team you value their skills and ability, through inviting their perspectives to the table. You will all win from the buy-in and commitment that comes from feeling heard.

As I wrap, I want to share the  John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, which has become one of my go-to shows. I like that the episodes are short – it makes them easy to catch on a walk or drive – and I have great take-a-ways every time I listen. If you like them, you can share them with your team too!

Remember, leadership means action. Go-on now, make it happen!

Our executive and senior leadership coaches are available to help you and your team turn leadership into action in REMARKABLE ways. Call or email us today for more information.

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