Leadership is a commitment to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

I believe most who have chosen the path of leadership would agree that it comes with challenges and complications, but also with considerable rewards that you won't find anywhere else.

To help leaders in any field stay on track through all the ups and downs, I've created a  roadmap.

As a leadership coach and business consultant, I find that people remember important elements when they are built around an acronym.

If you want to cultivate great leadership then learn what leadership truly means.

L = Leading
To lead is to guide, to steer, to pilot, to show (not tell) the way. As a leader, you're connecting people with a compelling idea, a vision, that they can grab on to and make happen--something that gives them deep purpose and provides them with meaning.

E = Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. When you lead with empathy, you have an open heart, open mind, and open ears. You listen to understand; you listen to learn; you listen because you care. When people feel heard and understood, they're inspired to powerful loyalty and achievement.

A = Authenticity
Being authentic--holding an awareness of who you are, and letting others know what you stand for--should be at the center of everything you do. It's about not needing external approval but letting go of who you think you're supposed to be and instead embracing your deepest, truest self.

D = Determination
Making things happen. Overcoming obstacles. Being persistent and tenacious. When failure is not an option, you bring the drive and the courage and the will to keep going, inspiring the group's imagination to discover, or create, new ways forward.

E = Empowerment
As a leader you're not just in it to accomplish something, but to bring others with you in making it happen. You give them power and encouragement, and by strengthening them you foster collaboration, teamwork, focused energy, and the level of commitment that comes with ownership.

R = Responsibility
Accountability is a crucial element of leadership. For your own integrity and that of those you are leading, you don't focus on power but on meeting your responsibilities. You are charged with bringing discipline and focus to the organization. As a leader you set the tone.

S = Selflessness
Simply put, you serve others before yourself. Successful leadership is, and has always been, a selfless action built on the principles of service. It means taking yourself out of the picture and considering the needs of others, focusing on the best interests of the group, building consensus.

H = Honesty
The truth can be a hard thing to face up to, but the trust that grows out of fearless honesty is the cornerstone of leadership. There is no leadership without trust, and there is no trust without honesty.

I = Innovation
Searching for new opportunities, different ways of doing things, fostering an atmosphere where people take chances and failure should not be cause for shame or punishment but an integral part of the process. A culture of innovation shouldn't rely on a few creative outliers but exist as a spirit that values imagination and fresh thinking in every team member every day.

P =  Positivity
When you're the leader, your energy sets the tone. If you wait for good things to happen and complain about the unfairness of life when they don't, you can expect a team whose members are passive, entitled, and unhappy. But if you keep your eye on the goal and see every situation as an opportunity to grow and learn and move forward, you'll enjoy the company of a group of colleagues who are energetic and engaged.  

Remember: If you want to commit yourself to great leadership, just spell it out.

Published on: Apr 11, 2016
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