Character: #1 C in ECE Leadership
Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged his followers not to judge people by their appearance, but by the content of their character. Have you invested time in thinking about the character of your ECE Leadership and the “appearance” it may be portraying to your colleagues, other leaders, and influencers? Let’s take a look at 5 specific character traits highly effective ECE Leaders have been intentional about in their personal leadership development.
Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged his followers not to judge people by their appearance, but by the content of their character.
Have you invested time in thinking about the character of your ECE Leadership and the “appearance” it may be portraying to your colleagues, other leaders, and influencers?
Let’s take a look at 5 specific character traits highly effective ECE Leaders have been intentional about in their personal leadership development.
INTEGRITY in its simplest form means being honest and having strong moral principles. This means I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It’s all about being & acting ethically and doing the right thing, even when others are not looking.
“If people are really narcissistic or have a need to be seen as more than they really are, or to be admired as having it all together, then they cannot be followed and trusted by others.” ― Henry Cloud, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality
We all make mistakes, however people with great integrity know when and how to admit their transgressions and most importantly, they are willing and committed to learning from their experience.
Integrity is about being personally accountable; and that takes courage. Standing up for what’s right is a courageous thing to do. Professional leadership is full present when one becomes self-aware and is able to reign in on their “personal wants” to focus more on doing the “right thing”. This shift in self-awareness and self-control actually brings in a sense of trust and goes a long way in developing respect of others.
Integrity: Honesty, Principles, Learning, Accountability, Self-Awareness, Transparency Leading to Respect of self & Others
COMMUNICATION: How well do you communicate? You know the old saying, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it!” Communication is such a big topic, and one of the key indicators of a successful and highly effective Leader, in all fields. So much so, Seasonal Pathways is developing an educational course just on this crucial topic.
First of all, it’s critical to acknowledge that as the leader it is your responsibility to ensure that the receiver of your communique clearly understands the message you are trying to convey. This requires the leader to have both knowledge and experience of the different ways people communicate, which is impacted by different personality styles. It can become very complicated, however is one of the most valuable skills a leader can learn.
When a leader has developed appropriate and effective communication skills, they are able to delegate appropriately. They can’t but help to convey their passion for the ECE field, the people they work with, and for the families involved. They are able to share difficult conversations in a positive manner, and all of this ultimately commands the respect of their stakeholders and elevates the influence the leader has in the lives and professional growth of others.
Communication: Strong communication skills are achieved by successful and highly effective leaders who studied the different communication and personality styles people develop. These skills are also valuable in equipping leaders to delegate, covey their passion, it helps to command respect, and is the key to influencing others.
GRATITUDE is found through our emotional intelligence which is basically the ability to build appropriate relationships. Would you like a better quality of life? It could be as simple as being more grateful which has been linked to an increase in our oxytocin. Research shows that approximately 20% of your overall life satisfaction is related to your level of gratitude.
Studies have also show that there is a Gratitude Gap in the Workplace. People may be willing to say thank you at home but less so at work. Yet a high level of job satisfaction comes from some of the simplest forms of appreciation from managers and supervisors. A reciprocity of authentic gratitude should be imbedded in the culture of any organization. Leaders must show they actually care about their staff members and show their appreciation in a variety of ways. Reading the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, might be a good place to begin.
Gratitude is the action of genuinely caring for others. Your colleagues and employees will feel your gratitude when you engage in empathic listening; being fair in workplace issues and situations, equipping them to solve their own problems, and helping them grow their leadership skills.
HUMBLENESS, says author and researcher, Jim Collins, is a characteristic of the Level 5 Leader.
“Level 5 leaders display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They're incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the organization and its purpose, not themselves. While Level 5 leaders can come in many personality packages, they are often self-effacing, quiet, reserved, and even shy. Every good-to-great transition in our research began with a Level 5 leader who motivated the enterprise more with inspired standards than inspiring personality.” -– Jim Collins, Good to Great
Humbleness, therefore, is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great deal of strength and confidence to get out of your own personal ambitions to focus on the Good for All. Read more about the Level 5 Leader.
CONTINUAL LEARNER . . . Readers are leaders . . . While this is not a new phrase, it is a good reminder that really great leaders never stop learning. Learning may be formal or informal, on topics that will allow you to keep your skills sharp or on topics that are clearly brand new to you. Learning from your own experiences, your staff members, from consultants to coaches all serve to enrich your ability to lead. Involvement in industry events keeps you aware of trends you may need to know more about, and volunteering with organizations outside of your industry exposes you to new opportunities and connections outside of your circle.
Learning something new keeps your brain challenged and your skills sharp. It means you yourself are still coachable and allows you to be more empathic to the learning curve your employees may find themselves experiencing. Being a perpetual learner means you continue to widen your vision. It may require resilience and perseverance, yet it can be the spice that adds a flavor of excellence to what you are doing so routinely. Find something new to learn this week. Check out Seasonal Pathways courses for ideas and options.