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Modern leadership principles and practices


Leadership is an essential aspect of any organization, and it plays a critical role in determining the success or failure of the business. In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, modern leadership principles are essential to meet the challenges of the future. As businesses face a shortage of talent, it is vital for leaders to adopt a human-centric approach that brings out the best in people, inspires them, and fosters their growth.

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One of the most critical principles of modern leadership is leading with motivation and trust, rather than fear and control. Leaders who lead with motivation understand that people are not machines, and they need inspiration and positive reinforcement to achieve their full potential. Such leaders inspire their teams, help them find purpose in what they do and create a collaborative work environment that values teamwork and creativity.

“I cannot highlight the importance of trust enough.”

I cannot highlight the importance of trust enough. We all may define it slightly different, but what does “trust” mean to me? It means to believe into the ability and the motivation of the people I lead, as well as my own. Believing in people’s integrity, transparency and will to do the right thing for the right reasons. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, and it is especially important in a team setting. When employees feel trusted, they are more likely to take ownership of their work, be more engaged and contribute their best work. Leaders can build trust by listening, creating a feedback culture and a safe work environment, by leading as an example of being transparent, communicating regularly, and keeping their promises. By focusing on shared goals and building a sense of purpose, leaders can motivate their team members to work together towards a common vision. A common occurrence I have observed many times is that enormous efforts are taken to hire the best talent, with the strongest track record. But once these people are in the job, they don’t receive the trust to be able to do the job which they have accomplished such a strong track record for. Often, excellent people are suffocated by micromanaging them to a point where their authentic ways of working and creating results, their unique ideas and added value is being muted, in order to fit into a template.

“Trust & Inspire”

If you want to learn more on the subject, I highly recommend the book “Trust & Inspire” by Steven R. Covey where he explains that leaders who inspire trust and confidence in their team members can create a culture of empowerment and collaboration and can unlock a powerful source of creativity and innovation.

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Bringing out the best in people

Modern leadership also involves bringing out the best in people. That is often easier said than done, because it requires a leader to develop a genuine interest in their team and putting the ego aside. Gone are the days where a leader was the only one knowing the one right way to do a job. Modern leaders understand the importance of authentic contribution and the power of the many. They should work closely with the team to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own and use them collectively and effectively to achieve the team’s goals. These leaders provide opportunities for growth and development, give and ask for feedback regularly, and support their team members to help them achieve their full potential and create a safe team culture to learn, fail and succeed.

Leaders must be human-centric

To lead in a modern way, leaders must be human-centric. This means understanding that people have needs and emotions that must be considered when making decisions that affect the team. Leaders who take a human-centric approach prioritize empathy, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness. They understand that creating a positive work environment is not just about the work, but also about the people who do the work.

Finally, to lead in a modern way, leaders must be adaptable and flexible. With the fast changes the digital world and the expectations of the newer generations of employees and customers are bringing to the business, leaders must be able to pivot quickly and adapt to new situations. They must be willing to be vulnerable, take risks, try new things, reflect and learn from their own failures.

Practical Tips for Modern Leadership:

  1. Reflect regularly and get to know yourself! Your values and drivers. Your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Then do the same with your team members.
  3. Communicate regularly with your team, listen to their concerns, provide and ask for feedback.
  4. Recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions.
  5. Empower employees by giving them autonomy over their work.
  6. Create an environment where it is safe to fail. If you punish your team members for mistakes, you are managing with fear and it will not lead to no mistakes being made, but people not telling you about them.
  7. Foster a culture of trust by being transparent, keeping promises, and holding yourself accountable too.
  8. Until proven otherwise, assume the best and lead with empathy, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness.
  9. Be adaptable and flexible, willing to take risks, try new things, and learn from your failures.
  10. Be an example of a constant learner, demonstrate a growth mindset on a daily basis and you will inspire your team to do the same.

By adopting and implementing these principles and tips, leaders can create a more engaged and productive workforce. Leaders who lead with motivation, trust, and empowerment can inspire their teams and create a positive work environment that values creativity, teamwork, and growth. The best leaders do not just bring out the best in their teams professionally, but will have an impact on their personal life’s too.

I had the fortune to work for many great leaders, and I know they all had this impact on me, they helped shape the person I am today and I will be eternally grateful for that.

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