As leaders, we need to be enthusiastic, resilient, and hopeful for the people we lead. Unfortunately, century-old bureaucratic models from the industrial era are proving harmful -- leaving our workforces tired, broken, and scared.
In this age of incredible disruption and rapid change, leaders of market-leading companies are acting to transform the future of work, shifting the focus back to the most critical component -- people.
A new era of leadership for a new era of business
In line with this thinking, noted author and international speaker, Mike Vacanti, penned Believership, a new book causing its own disruption of existing, theoretical management models.
Vacanti has left his mark in the collective conscience of thousands worldwide as the founder of the HumansFirst Club movement -- a gathering of changemakers sharing a mission to inspire positive change and fuel sustainability through stories, experiences, and open-dialog.
Now he brings elements of the global movement he launched into print form. In his book, Vacanti calls us to reset our minds to see leadership as the path to bring our true selves to our work and to all our employees in order to "create value rather than extract value, drawing out the collective effort of the team."
Believership is about authenticity, empowerment, and inspiration; it is about sustainable growth and extraordinary performance, and it has the potential to bring joy to the team.
"When we get past the traditional thinking of what makes a leader, we find that all human beings have their own innate superpowers. When we combine them it becomes something much more powerful than one person's talent," explains Vacanti.
What we stop doing is more important than what we do next
Clearly, I'm in agreement with Vacanti. Drawing from the overwhelming evidence of what we've already learned from Gallup and others, companies who succeed over the next decade will be those who focus on human relationships. Vacanti also warns that, more than ever before, leaders need to be "navigators rather than commanders" to keep up with the pace of change. "We need to have people find self-leadership, to willfully attach themselves and commit and navigate those waters together," he explains.
That also means rejecting the rigid-minded will to force assimilation on our workforce. Instead, we should improve the way we do business by exploring reality and possibilities, honoring each person's unique talent and unleashing their superpower. Vacanti notes, "The belief in 'best-practice' gets in the way of best possibility."
4 practical ways to put Believership into action
To create positive change, leaders need to grow personally in order to lead the growth of others and the organization as a whole. This remains a huge gap in leadership philosophy. A series of simple adjustments have a profound impact, including:
1. Eliminate fear.
When fear and uncertainty permeate the workplace, you begin to see fewer risks being taken and fewer problems being solved on a proactive level.If fear is your tool -- it's the only one you have and your greatest limitation.
Not just listen. Actively listen. If you're in a room with another, you're not the smartest person in the room -- the combined knowledge is greater.
3. Be a learner.
The greatest act of vulnerability is a growth mindset. "Stop proving and start improving," shares Vacanti. Avoid know-it-all syndrome, and give others their voice.
Be strong enough to lift others, and carry the responsibilities of your role. The leader's job is to power up, not pressure down.
Meeting the challenges we face today requires big shifts in the way we organize, operate, structure, lead and manage people and teams. Resetting your beliefs to this new paradigm will last beyond the mere attainment of goals and objectives; people will find meaning and happiness.
"It is not only what we accomplish but who we become along the journey," says Vacanti. "The only thing that gets in the way of extraordinary transformation is the belief that it can't be done."