I’ve had the Entrepreneurial bug for as long as I can remember. As a child I was the one who always wanted to play business, who wanted to have the lemonade stand, and who would designate others to roles of managers or sales persons so that I could go off and create our next business.
I would often wonder though, why would the other kids so readily follow me and fall into the places I designed for each of them? Why didn’t I ever run into the kid who would ask, “Who left and put you in charge?” What was the key to making everyone feel a necessary part of the whole success? These and many other leadership keys would become a focus of my quest to understand successful entrepreneurship.
Since those early childhood days, I’ve spent more than 30 years making my way up the ladder in the Entertainment industry, and owning my own companies, sometimes leading teams of several hundreds of people, in multiple countries, on a dozen different projects. The cultures may be different, but the foundations of great entrepreneurial leaders remain the same.
I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the traits of great Conscious Leaders and have used what I learned to turn several new businesses into fun places for people to work. I am now proud to coach Women Entrepreneur’s in search of insights to becoming Conscious Leaders themselves.
One of the most common challenges among the entrepreneur’s I work with is the perception that managing is leading. Nothing could be further from reality. Most women are natural managers, able to multi-task and determine how each member of a team can contribute. They are good diplomats and can soothe hurt feelings. But being a conscious leader, a person others will not only follow, but also be inspired to create for and support fully, takes a real conscious mind of a leader. Here are my “Essential Six” tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur and Conscious Leader.
Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and those of your team, is crucial to being a conscious leader. Being really clear with your team about what you expect of them and of yourself will help everyone understand their measure of success. If people are unclear of your expectations, you leave them open to failure, and thus you will fail as a leader.
When our focus is on leading others, we sometimes spend a lot of time trying to be someone we would look up to, rather than who we are. Great conscious leaders are able to share their strengths with others and admit their weak areas. They are also able to assist members of their team in doing the same without any judgment.
This is really important. When team members feel comfortable with exposing their true selves and confident that you are there to help them rise to their higher abilities, they will be anxious to follow your lead. They will understand that your success and their success are tied together and heartfelt. People follow conscious leaders who they feel will be honest with them and work with them to reach success without judging the starting place, and who celebrate everyone’s accomplishments.
Not bringing your own baggage to the party is a hard thing to do. We have lived so many years, and have so many different life experiences. These are the things that help to shape us, right? Yes… and no. Our experiences do help to shape us, but we have the ability to take away from each experience what we feel will benefit us the most. Embrace every new opportunity and experience with a fresh and open heart. Try not to burden a new experience with the disappointments from another.
When you are trapped by past disappointments and failures, you are more apt to cause the very problems you are trying to avoid. Remember that each and every person on your team also have had many years of experience. Having an open mind and heart will allow you to benefit from someone else’s positive experience. Sometimes it’s the fresh perspective that will bring about the perfect solution. When you are unable to be objective, you may miss the exact opportunity you were looking for.
So be conscious, take a chance, and understand that not every situation will turn out the same as the last. Many elements may be different and the same approach may well yield a new outcome.
If you don’t respect yourself first, you can’t have respect for others. You got here for a reason. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, yet don’t be boastful. Just know that you are worthy of the position you have made for yourself. Others will sense your self respect, and when you lead by example and are respectful of others, they will return the favor.
I have seen many reluctant leaders struggle with their team. They fear giving up any compliments or secrets that may have allowed them to move up into a leadership position. I say forget about them. Let yourself be the example. You became a leader because you have strengths that others are looking for. Embrace the idea that you can share your knowledge without losing any ground, and show others the same respect. Compliment their good ideas and work well done. Give credit where it is due.
Building respect as a conscious leader will come from having respect for yourself and others, and by showing it. Being sure of your accomplishments, being respectful and not boastful, and leading by example will prove to gain you many followers.
What does your little inner voice say? Do you take the time to listen? Do you understand how instrumental it has been in getting you to where you are today? When something is bothering you, there’s usually a good reason. Listen to that – let it guide you to conscious questions. Be sensitive to your instincts as there is a big difference between taking a risk and not listening to your gut.
Conscious leaders are in tune with their little inner voice. They take a breath and ask, “What is this that seems to be nagging at me?” Ask yourself creative questions, conscious questions, in an effort to get to the bottom of the situation. Don’t become frightened or self judging, as that will only keep you from the truth. Once you have uncovered the concern, you might find that it provided a chance to re-evaluate and included a very important step or person you had overlooked.
Intuition is a strength. It takes time to develop and can become one of your best allies. Listen to it when it speaks to you, as there is a reason behind its voice – big or small, good or bad – and it will help you in your efforts to remain a true conscious leader.
John Maxwell says, “Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.” Make conscious connections and build relationships. When you take the time to get to know your team, client, or partner – what they value, what motivates them – and you can celebrate the small successes, you will find it worth millions. People are dedicated to leaders who care about them – leaders who take the time to understand what they need and to make themselves clear. Don’t underestimate the power of forming strong personal relationships.
When I am dealing with my team, I realize that not everyone is the same. Some have outgoing personalities while others are quiet and like to work alone. I like to understand each of their particular needs, desires, and styles, so that we can create an environment that works best for all of us. Having a personal connection means the other person feels you care. It doesn’t mean getting involved in gossip circles, personal dramas, or displacing your values or the values of your business. It simply means being conscious of those around you in a way that allows you to give and get the very best from them in return.
You can’t do it by yourself. The first thing a great leader learns is that you need a team. Teach them well and give them room to grow. Many leaders forget what it was like coming up the ladder. Some leaders find themselves in leadership positions and don’t even know how they got there.
Be very clear with yourself. Building a powerful team is essential to being a successful conscious leader. Empowering your team is critical. Your team is a reflection of your skills. Teaching is about allowing others to achieve the results by doing.
Empowerment is a crucial part of being a leader. Teach well and empower others to carry out the tasks at hand. Compliment and reward their success and you have done your job well. Being a conscious leader means understanding the difference between getting the job done and doing it yourself. When your team is empowered, you will have more time to grow a conscious business.
About the Author:
Stephanie Graziano, Founder and Success Coach, BYOB; Building Your Own Business, believes in the Conscious team leader. Her coaching focus is on Women Entrepreneurs looking to increase their confidence, credibility, and visibility. She has been interviewed by CNN, The Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Business Start-Ups Magazine. Please visit our website: buildingyourownbusiness.com
It will look like this: 6 Essential Insights of a Conscious Leader