Written by: Mell Balment, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
A leader is someone who inspires people to act in a particular way. In today's organisations, they are not necessarily the person at the top of the chart. Anyone who is entrusted with a responsibility can become a leader. Anyone can lead a team to success whether it’s 1 or 1000.
When I say you empower people, that is exactly what you get because you are giving them the authority to do whatever it takes to achieve the job or mission.
Empowerment is about empowering your team to bring out the best of their skills and talents.
However you can't just expect to become the leader of a team or organisation with a promotion. The people who work with you have to accept you as a leader first. Which doesn't happen overnight but it does take an alignment of your values and your behaviors.
Becoming a better leader sometimes means learning to be more humble. In the digital age, with huge amounts of disconnect we must remember that leadership is only successful if you can use it to empower others.
With that in mind, here are 4 great tips you can use to become an empowered leader.
1. Learn the difference between being a human-being and being a human-doer
Many people will do anything to avoid being uncomfortable. Often this results in them running away from something in our past or focussing on running towards something ‘better’ in our future.
Therefore many actions and behaviours are robbing and draining team energy without even being aware of it.
If you're in a workplace that is filled with short-term thinkers who are only concerned with the immediate results, it can be hard to think long-term. If the team isn't all working with the same expectations and understanding, it can be hard to convince them to align with your thinking let alone the other team members.
Empathy is the capacity that enables you to connect with others in such a way that can bypass the masks and facades that people put on. This means you can get to the bottom of problems quickly, understand possible root causes and set up new possibilities for the future.
The challenge is that we aren’t taught empathy in any of our schooling systems, therefore it’s commonly mis-believed that empathy is simply about either 1. Being empathetic to someone's struggles or 2. about ‘being sensitive or others' feelings.
Neither of these are particularly helpful for goal success or productivity and in fact fall short of the actual point of empathic leadership.
Albert Einstein said that an individual's ability to empathise is not only a key component of intelligence, but that it is “the only thing that allows us to experience life in a deep and meaningful way.” And if that wasn’t motivating enough, studies also show that empathy is directly linked to success in nearly every type of relationship including professional ones.
That sense of meaning is a massive drive of employee satisfaction which feeds into how hard people work, i.e., their effort and engagement in their job.
In the 21st century, it's become increasingly important to possess empathy due to how much technology we use and the drop of how often people interact with each other.
2. Different empathic traits are an important skill to build team cohesion
It's vitally important to have a variety of people who have different thought processes and thinking patterns in a team, and that everyone's voice can be heard when making decisions. This inclusion (where appropriate) supports the sense that everyone feels like they are contributing to the bigger picture ‒ again coming back to employee engagement.
It's equally important to leverage these different and unique thinking and ‘doing’ processes to get the best output of individuals which benefits the business, goal or impact.
Being able to build strong connections with people is something we should all strive for in any workplace ‒ especially with today’s virtual and remote locations.
In order to identify empathic traits, you have to understand what empathy is. Empathy is defined as the ability to sense other people's thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
Because understanding these traits translates to measurable and tangible behaviours such as, being non-judgmental, open-minded, awareness of a room’s dynamics, compassionate and so on, you have to be able to build stronger connections between you and your team.
3. Manage stressful energy to protect yourself from being drained
Positive energy is necessary for our body to function properly. Keeping an upbeat attitude and focusing on what is important will go a long way in managing your own energy levels. The most important thing to remember is to take breaks when you feel a bit drained.
However this advice can raise flags of alarm for some business owners, so let me put your mind at ease, we aren’t talking about ‘less productivity’. This is about changing working expectations and environments into places for reflection and decompressing so that stressful states can be shifted quicker.
Being flexible of how and when things are delivered to enable more conducive arrangements for team members can be a massive step forward in productivity.
For example, I’m much better at concentrated, focused and heavy thinking after I’ve had a decent feed, so often I do the mundane tasks in the morning to clear my head and fuel my body for the more important work after I’ve warmed up for a few hours! Likewise I can be the most productive in the 2-4 hours after dinner which isn’t when most people would expect me to be available or online.
A common complaint I hear from staff is the need to 'keep themselves together' when in fact something is falling apart in their life.
4. Human beings sometimes need time to ‘be’
Emotionally, mentally, and physically, we're all human beings. We need to keep that in mind and learn to recognise overwhelm and especially when a burnout is looming for others.
Not only are these times not conducive to high productivity or efficiency, they also lead to mistakes, conflict and drama. Which is really more costly!
One key, is to have regular ‘emotional’ check-ins which can be especially helpful when life is throwing curveballs at them. Being compassionate at their low points, will reap benefits in their high times. Build your bank deposit of reciprocity as well as basic quality humaning.
5. Access inspirational thinking, to expand critical, intuitive decision making
A crucial skill for a leader is the ability to think creatively and inspire a team of employees to get behind that decision.
Creative thinking requires you to think abstractly, which can be a challenge for many people.
Intuitive decision making is also a skill that leaders need to develop. Because of the nature of their jobs, leaders need to make tough decisions quickly and confidently. Creative thinking is learning to look for and recognise alternative opportunities and viewpoints, it can include considering possible risks and learning from past experiences.
While there are no simple ways to improve creative thinking, this is where your team can come in. By knowing what their traits and tendencies are, they could be the bridge to compliment your skillset (and therefore weaknesses).
This can also support options based on additional, external insights and can reduce the tendency to be driven by your own agenda or emotions.
Ultimately a team that feels empowered is more productive and that increase your success for your personal goals as well as the growth and progress of the business.
If you’d like to know more about intuitiveness as a leader, check out this other article in the series.
Mell Balment, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Mell Balment is a change-maker in the space of energy, mindset, and super-conscious mastery. She’s on a mission to help EmpathPreneursTM have unwavering confidence to accomplish the ambitions they currently only dream about.
Soul-driven leaders desire to be fulfilled but worry about their success being built on others suffering. In her first 4 years as a fully declared Quantum Healer, Mell B has facilitated 650 Mindweb Analysis sessions to address these limitations and more.
She loves partnering with secret empaths using advanced epigenetic processes, so they can make their impact on humanity.
Multi-award-winning healer, Mell B has blended spirituality and rapid results into a new accelerator system called Deep Belief HackingTM.
With a reputation for her courage, grace, and empathy, Mell was honored for her Cognitive Reframe Process as one of the world’s Top 10 Healers and the Top 1% of Leadership coaches in Australia.
Known for her transformational retreats and cutting-edge quantum programs including ‘EmpathPreneurShip', she is a published author and vivacious public speaker on Navigating The Chaos Of Life As An Empath.