Build on these key interpersonal skills and you will set yourself up for success.
There are many factors that contribute to leadership success. The first core fundamental is to uphold an unwavering belief in your success. The second is to have the courage to step up and act on your vision.
Once you have fine-tuned your beliefs about success and have your action plan in motion, you need to master the following two skills.
1. Mindful communication.
The majority of leaders who fail, do so due to lack of interpersonal skills. Attainment of any goal is contingent upon your ability to develop and maintain relationships with emotional resilience. Yet, in today’s business environment, there is a dearth of people with good communication skills. Whether it is a one-on-one conversation, group meetings, or via digital communication, many leaders are not communicating mindfully. Your technical or tactical management skills may be unparalleled, but you will sabotage your success if you don’t have effective interpersonal skills.
I once worked with a client whose biggest challenge was communicating with his team. When I interviewed his colleagues, the feedback was that he was very curt and disrespectful to them, particularly when he communicated via email. When I brought this to his attention, he was bewildered. I asked him to send me twenty emails that he had previously sent to his team members (with the understanding that it would be held under the strictest of confidence). When I reviewed the emails with him, he was able to see how he had been terse in his correspondence.
The bottom line is that this leader did not have negative intentions — but simply as a way to save time, he would answer questions with one or two-word responses and signed his emails with the first letter of his name, instead of his full name. These short responses created a tone contrary to his intended message. The impact was that his team perceived him to be rude and disrespectful toward them and the net result was a number of strained relationships. In his effort to save time, it actually cost him more time because he had to take the time to rebuild these relationships. So no matter what the venue of communication you choose, be mindful of the impact of your thoughts about people. Treat people with respect and fully engage with them.
2. Dealing with adversity.
Successful business leaders don’t throw in the towel when adversity strikes. They find a way to carry on. Setbacks are all part of the growth and development process. But what if you don’t handle adversity well? Unfortunately leaders are consistently judged by how they respond to adversity, as much as how well they recover from it. Remember, your team observes how you handle adversity. Are you a leader who rises to the occasion and looks for solutions, or one who loses your cool under fire — or complains about the situation?
The thing about thriving business leaders is no matter what they are up against they are going to find a heart-centered way to be successful. Successful leaders possess emotional resilience and composure in the face of adversity and don’t allow difficulties to derail them. When things don’t go well, emotionally resilient leaders don’t give up or feel sorry for themselves for long. They choose to stand up and keep moving forward, as they realize they have to lead by example.
In our book, Heart Centered Leadership, we call this, “Know your impact.” A leader who is mindful of their impact will rally their team when times are tough, and provide hope. This leader is aware that collectively, they will find a solution. And, because they believe in their own ability to succeed, they inevitably find the answers to their predicaments. It all comes down to your ability to confidently handle tough times. When you are able to respond positively and constructively to challenges, the qualities of courage, resilience and level-headedness emerge, allowing you to get back to business.