Developing Resonant Leadership at American Income Life

American Income Life Regional Director Jim Driscoll

American Income Life Regional Director Jim Driscoll

Great Leaders can move us by igniting passion and inspiring our best. We’ve all witnessed many examples, John Wooden, Mother Theresa, even Mayor Giuliani following 9/11. How did they become great leaders? Are they great visionaries, do they have powerful ideas, can they create dynamic strategies? The answers to these questions are all yes, but more simply it’s their ability to drive emo-tions.

Even if everything else we do is right, if we, as leaders, fail at the primal task to driving emotions in the right direction, nothing will work as well as it could or should. When we drive emotions we bring out everyone’s best, this effect is known as resonance. However in the past we have often viewed emotions at work as noise which clutters or disrupts the otherwise effectiveness of an organization.

The task of leadership is primal, in the sense that it’s the original and most important act of leadership. Throughout history and in many cultures the leader of any group was the person to whom they looked to for assurance and clarity in times of uncertainty or when there’s a job to be done. They worked as the group’s emotional guide.

Everyone watches the boss, and take emotional clues from the “top”. However, if the designated leader lacks credibility for some reason, people may turn to someone else they trust and respect for emotional guidance.

It’s important to mention that these are not innate talents, rather they are learned abilities and that intellect alone does not make an effective leader. Great leaders execute a vision by motivating, guiding, inspiring, listening, persuading – and most certainly, through creating resonance.

Albert Einstein said, “We should take care not to make intellect our god. It has of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It can-not lead, it can only serve”.

So how do we become a leader with resonance? It begins by identifying the key competencies which are broken down into personal awareness, self awareness, social awareness and relationship management.

• Self awareness – Leaders high in emotional self – awareness are attuned to their inner signals, recognizing how their feelings affect them and their job performance.
• Emotionally self – aware leaders can be candid and authentic, able to speak openly about their emotions or with conviction about their guiding vision.
• Accurate self – assessment – Leaders with high self – awareness typically know their limitations and strengths, and exhibit a sense of humor about themselves. They exhibit gracefulness in learning where they need to improve, and welcome construc-tive feedback and criticism. Accurate self – assessment lets a leader know when to ask for help and where to focus in cultivating new leadership strengths.

• Self – control – A hallmark of self – control is the leader who stays calm and clear – headed under high stress or during a cri-sis.
• Transparency – Leaders who are transparent live their values. Transparency allows integrity and such leaders openly admit mistakes or faults, and confront unethical behavior in others rather than turn a blinds eye.
• Adaptability – Leaders who are adaptable can juggle multiple demands without losing focus or energy, and are comfortable with the inevitable uncertainty of organizational life.
• Achievement – Leaders with strength in achievement have high personal standards that drive them to constantly seek performance improvement – both for themselves and those they lead.
• Initiative – Leaders who have a sense of influence – that they have what it takes to control their own destiny – excel in initiative. They seize opportunity – or create them – rather than simply waiting.
• Optimism – A leader who is optimistic can roll with the punches, seeing them as an opportunity rather than a threat in a set-back. And their “glass half- full” outlook leads them to expect that changes in the future will be for the better.

• Empathy – Leaders with empathy are able to sense the felt, but unspoken, emotions in a person or group. Empathy makes a leader able to get along with people of diverse backgrounds or other cultures.
• Organizational awareness – A leader with a keen social awareness can be politically astute, able to detect crucial social net works and read key power relationships.
• Service – Such leaders monitor customer or client satisfaction carefully to ensure they are getting what they need. They also make themselves available as needed.

• Inspiration – Leaders who inspire both create resonance and move people with a compelling vision or shared mission. These leaders embody what they ask of others, and are able to articulate a shared mission in a way that inspires others to follow. They offer a sense of common purpose beyond the day to day tasks, making work exciting.
• Influence – Indicators of a leader’s powers of influence range from finding just the right appeal for a given listener to know-ing how to build buy – in from key people and a network of support for a given initiative. Leaders adept at influence are persuasive and engaging when they address a group. \
• Developing others – Leaders who are adept at cultivating people’s abilities show a genuine interest in those they are helping along, understanding their goals, strengths and weaknesses. Such leaders give timely and constructive feedback and are natural mentors or coaches.
• Change catalyst – Leaders who can catalyze change are able to recognize the need for the change, challenge the status quo, and champion a new order. They also find practical ways to overcome barriers to change.
• Conflict management – Leaders who manage conflict best are able to surface the conflict, acknowledge the feelings and views of all sides, and then redirect the energy toward a shared ideal.
• Teamwork and collaboration – Leaders who are able team players generate an atmosphere of friendly collegiality, and are themselves models of respect, helpfulness, and cooperation. They spend time forging and cementing close relationships beyond mere work obligations.

A pebble in the pond creates but a small wake that has far reaching implications”. Anonymous 2012

About Mark Ting

Mark Ting is a Staff Writer at Torchmark Corporation, writing about American Income Life and National Income Life Insurance Companies. Google+

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