Will you choose fear or opportunity?

Man on highwire approaching stairs

This is an excerpt of an article published in the August 2020 issue of Realizing Leadership Magazine with the author’s permission.

By David O’Brien

Never before has leadership clarity and influence been so critical to so many. In these rapidly changing times, they are essential factors in mobilizing and motivating teams everywhere. Despite the progress many leaders have made since the onset of the pandemic, most leaders would agree that this period of great uncertainty demands true leadership at its highest level. It also requires us to create a “new normal” context that inspires hope among those we lead. In order for leaders to fully align their capacity with the evolving tides of leadership, they must first examine their own leadership formula and its impact on team morale.

How we view uncertainty determines how we respond to it and ultimately, whether we leverage it to harness our team’s overall capacity to be engaged and successful, or not. There are a multitude of ways we can view uncertainty but at the core of our perception is either fear or opportunity. Choosing to see the opportunity arises from leadership clarity, a key driver of productive leadership influence. When we make a deliberate effort to uncover the opportunity, our leadership influence expands through a heightened sense of purpose.

What drives productive leadership influence?

On a foundational level, productive influence encompasses these five dimensions:

Focusing on what is enormously important in your life and work

Focusing on your aim, plan, and purpose

Focusing on your beliefs and opinions

Focusing on how you show up and how you act

Focusing on the outcome of your efforts

When the five dimensions are aligned, the benefits are numerous. Beyond the heightened clarity and purpose that results for the leader, their team members are more apt to be engaged and satisfied. At an even deeper level, the productive influence fosters a sense of community where everyone feels valued and respected.

At times like these, the quality of our leadership will be determined not only by how we use our influence but perhaps more importantly, our level of clarity about the full scope and impact of our influence.

Read Part 2   Seven strategies for expanding your influence in uncertain times

David A. O’Brien is president of WorkChoice Solutions, a trusted provider of leadership and team effectiveness training, coaching, and consulting services. He works with a wide range of corporate, nonprofit, and public sector clients to help bring about sustainable improvements in organizational effectiveness. To learn more, please visit www.workchoicesolutions.com or contact David at 860-242-1070.


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