What is Your Unique Leadership Edge?
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”– John.C Maxwell
What is a Leader?
With society continually being shaped by ever-changing norms in a political, social, and economic sense, organisations are being presented with continual challenges throughout their quest for success. Leaders are being forced to incorporate a smart way of working to generate positive work outcomes.
While leaders share the same common goal of sustained success, leadership itself comes in many forms. The most inspirational leaders commonly fulfil their goals by homing in on key areas of strength to achieve their optimum potential.
For a leader to thrive, it’s fundamental to establish and identify a unique leadership edge. This helps to inspire people and fulfil short and long-term targets.
What is Leadership Edge?
To establish a sense of credibility and authenticity, leaders identify areas of strength, and establish where they can offer the most value – this is otherwise referred to as a ‘leadership edge’ or a ‘brand’.
The traits identified by leaders are considered to be the unique and powerful characteristics that can enhance their role as a leader, in turn, improving the overall quality of their practice.
Four aspects form a leadership edge. These include:
- Aspirations – These are what an individual wants to achieve and fulfil via their leadership, and the overriding legacy that they wish to leave;
- Strengths – Areas whereby a person excels. We’re all invigorated by individual interests, and these qualities provide the potential to thrive;
- Values – These are principles and belief systems that a person conforms to that are used to guide career and life decisions;
- Abilities – Natural talents that are applied by an individual to accomplish professional targets both for personal and team/company goals.
Benefits of Establishing Your Leadership Edge
Each leader is unique and offers individual traits and characteristics. Therefore, it’s beneficial to convey your brand, for a variety of reasons.
For instance, the modern marketplace is highly competitive; establishing your leadership edge has the potential to differentiate your qualities from that of a competitor. Also, the promotion of your leadership edge can Increase visibility within a company and enhance your working reputation.
Compatibility between two or more parties is essential to achieve optimum outcomes and good team working. Communicating your leadership edge enables you and your colleagues to be more self-aware in how you work together to make the most of your strengths across both short-term and sustained periods.
Moreover, generating an awareness of a distinct leadership edge enhances self-confidence and inspires self-motivation rather than suffering imposter syndrome or self-doubt.
There is often an emphasis placed on identifying weaknesses, as opposed to encouraging ingenuity.
Strength-based leadership subverts this philosophy, instead, encouraging people to contribute their individual USPs to achieve a shared goal. With all-rounders a rare commodity, strength-based leadership identifies multiple areas of strength, combining a multitude of skills to enhance performance and fulfil business objectives.
Global sports manufacturer Nike is a prime example of how strength-based leadership can pay dividends, with the foundational team combining several traits to prompt business growth.
In the company’s formative years, founder Phil Knight identified business management and corporate negotiation as his areas of expertise, while co-founder Bill Bowerman, equipped with a broad knowledge of track and field, excelled in product development. Rather than frivolously assigning roles within his team, founder Phil Knight encouraged others to focus on their areas of strength.
The ABCD approach outlines guidelines relating to strength-based leadership:
- Align – Rather than individually delegating projects, seek input from your team about which tasks they would like to complete. During the decision-making process, consider the skillsets of your employees, communicate, and identify where their skills are suited best. This can help identify areas where members of the group may thrive.
- Build Diverse Teams – A workforce varying in age, culture, gender, etc. will provide a multitude of ideas. When forming a team, it’s important not to surround yourself with similar people, with similar ideas. A diverse team, with different strengths, will ensure that various traits are introduced to the team, creating ground-breaking ideas, and enhancing the likelihood of surpassing competitors.
- Culture of Transparency – Honesty often prompts positiveness within the workplace; employees will be more receptive to feeding back their professional motivations and aims. Responses have the potential to highlight what individuals perceive to be their strengths.
- Don’t Govern, Encourage – While the formation of a diverse team can be challenging, this is the easier part, with the true difficulty laying in empowering your team to work creatively. Strength-based leaders must allow their team to be bold in their approach and express their opinion. It’s the responsibility of a leader to listen to a team, before guiding them in the right direction, as per their strengths without hindering their enthusiasm.
Leaders can often be overbearing, sometimes intimidating, approaches that can be detrimental to their workforce. It’s essential to acknowledge that leadership is a privilege, not a right. Strength-based leadership places importance on people being encouraged to utilise their main competencies to improve morale and productivity.
Co-Creation Leadership Lab
Communication and collaboration are the two fundamental characteristics of successful leaders.
It’s often considered that great minds share ideas, a philosophy and driving force behind our new enterprise, the Leadership Lab. Our pioneering event presents like-minded professionals with the opportunity to discuss current business affairs and share ideas and values.
With significant developments constantly emerging within the business sector, the Leadership Lab affords attendees the opportunity to liaise with renowned senior-level peers during our exclusive event, in turn, refining their knowledge and overall practice.
To echo the sentiments of American artist Shepard Fairey: “Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people.”
The Leadership Lab reflects these sentiments, in that the event encourages participants to community ideas with each other, leading to the acquirement of new skills, and the potential for exciting business opportunities.