Since I was a little girl attending grade school, I’ve always struggled with the case of the Sunday blues.
Unless Monday was a vacation day, every Sunday afternoon, as the sun started to set, I will begin to get antsy about having to go to school and later on in life to work the following morning; and this was in no way shape or form related with any unfinished homework or assignment, or an impending test or anything like that. I guess it might somewhat be linked to the fact that I have to wake up early and follow a structured scheduled, for which my free spirit was not created, but I digress!
The Sunday blues tended to become more prevalent whenever I had a difficult teacher or boss to deal with the next day…and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one afflicted by it. Yet, as leaders in charge of a team, being on the other side of the coin, we have to understand that level of influence and thread carefully.
As leaders, we are given a platform from which we have the ability to either improve or worsen someone’s environment and the company’s culture at large. It’s a power one cannot take lightly. Therefore, we cannot, as leaders, allow ourselves to forget that leadership transcends a role. Leadership is truly a privilege, a labor of love if you must. Our influence, whether positive or negative, may affect the trajectories of people’s careers, as well as have an impact their lives.
Leaders must develop and practice four critical attributes or characteristics that can undoubtedly make the difference between being the leader that creates an environment that inspires and encourages growth or one in which employees struggle daily to get themselves out of bed to go to.
Leaders must be humble: One thing that I always keep front and center in my brain is that no matter how far I’ve come, I cannot allow myself to forget where I started, where is that I come from and all the struggle and sacrifice it took to overcome all the obstacles along the way.
Part of the journey of a leader is to develop others, to help them reach their full potential and we can only achieve that if we view it as an innate obligation to pay forward all that we’ve learned.
Leaders must become mentors: The best way to pay forward what we’ve been given is to mentor others. Keep in mind that at some point in our careers (and lives in general), we were young and stupid, yet someone had the grace and generosity to take us under their wings and show us the ropes. Someone thought we were worth the time investment and gave us advise, guidance, opportunities, but above all, their time.
Thus, mentorship is such a critical part of the growth of a leader, both giving it and receiving it. No matter how far we’ve come, there’s always going to be someone that’s a step ahead of us and has more wisdom and a better vantage point. Benefit from it, while allowing other who are also running the race, to benefit from yours.
Leaders must have a clear vision and mission: As leaders, we are the ones that provide the team with the where and the how. We are the ones mapping the plan and driving the execution that will allow the team to achieve the goals at hand Without a clear vision and a strategic plan, we’ll just be a bunch of headless chickens running around …the blind leading the blind.
Leadership is a very straightforward role…. leaders inspire. But in order to successfully be a leader, people have to be willing to follow you. They may for a time, follow a title assigned by corporate, but with hollow leadership , the team will become diluted and will just go through the motions instead of going full-blown because there’s nothing to follow.
Leaders must be empathetic: Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Each person we encounter is a world on their own. Every single one, us including, are dealing with several different demands, concerns, fears, aspirations, traumas, etc., thus having the ability to understand what others are going through, even if and when we have not experienced the same for ourselves is vital.
Empathy plays a huge role in a leader’s ability (or that of any human being for that matter) to apply emotional intelligence to any situation. If we learn to put people first, care for them, nurture them, they in contrast will start to care and nurture the business. Making others feel valued and appreciated make a world of difference for them, as well as for the business.
Part of my commitment as a leader is to ensure that I’m to the best of my ability, not the reason for anyone in my team to experience Sunday blues or feel anxiety about going to work each day. A well-oiled team, becomes a community and as such it supports and promotes growth, keeping anxiety and fear at bay.
Thanks for reading and God bless,