A 2014 is celebrated by many around world, especially the Chinese, as the Year of the Horse. For a bit of fun, we wanted to explore the characteristics commonly linked to the symbol of the Horse as they relate to leadership. A quick internet search pulls up a variety of characteristics, but they all have a common theme- strength, trustworthiness, and friendliness. Whether or not you ascribe to the belief of Chinese zodiac symbols, I don’t think anyone would argue that these are worthy leadership qualities to strive for no matter what year you were born.
Trustworthiness is a leadership attribute with which we are pretty familiar. There are numerous articles written about true leadership stemming from trust, and studies proving that leaders who exhibit high levels of trust accelerate growth, innovation, and collaboration within their organization. According to Forbes, you can’t be a great leader without trust.
Similar to the belief in Emergenetics that we are a combination of nature and nurture, so is our view on trust. Trust means something different for each person. Some people connect trust more with the concepts of confidence and faith, while others may relate trust more closely to words like commitment or caring. It is unique for each individual, their experiences, and their history with trust. At its core, trust is about strengthening relationships through mutual respect.
In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, author Patrick Lencioni says “when it comes to teams, trust is all about vulnerability… to be comfortable being open, even exposed, to one another around their failures, weaknesses, even fears.”
Leaders who want to achieve high performance need to start by building authentic trust with those they lead. And trust isn’t something that just happens. You have to work for it. Cultivate it. Think of trust as you would a vegetable garden. Sure you really want fresh vegetables. You even went to the store and purchased the seeds. But if you never actually went outside, tilled the dirt, planted the seeds, watered the seeds (some people even swear by singing to seeds!)- all you will ever have is just seeds.
And that’s where friendliness comes into play. An empathic leadership style reinforces the significance of individual contributions. Trust is more easily developed because as a leader you have put yourself out there. You talk to people. You know what’s important to them. You know what they struggle with- and you’re dedicated to helping them work through their challenges. Leaders who have a Social preference tend to excel at improving team morale and building an environment of collaboration and respect. It’s not the only way to go about building trust, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. It is a powerful tool in the belt of any leader.
Which leads us to strength. Strength is usually attributed to athletes or Olympians. But it’s something that everyday leaders can have, too. In an article written by Executive Coach Val Williams, “The concept of strength implies not what you can do to others, but what you can create from your own resources. Where power sometimes motivates people through fear, strength leads people through inspiration. Strength connotes charisma, attractiveness. People more naturally follow a strong person. They are motivated to act by something beyond that person’s title.”
With Emergenetics, we see the strength in every Profile. When you utilize what you know about your own preferences, it instills a sense of courage and motivation that stems from the knowledge that you have something substantial to contribute to the overall success of the organization. Leaders who have a true understanding of their Profile will be more apt to exude charisma and inspire others through their actions. And when a leader actively recognizes what others bring to the table, they are helping the group to fully realize their maximum potential.
Strength in leadership is about being confident in your own abilities, empowering others to own what is unique in themselves, and to put them in a position to utilize their strengths. It is more than just the title- it is who you are and how you approach every situation. So this year, rely on friendliness to help you develop a foundation trust. And with a solid foundation of trust in place, your strength as a leader will grow exponentially.
Here’s to a great 2014! Gong Xi Fa Ca! (Wishing You Prosperity in Mandarin)
Interested in learning more about developing trust in your organization? Contact us to speak with an expert about the Emergenetics approach to building trust.
With a full package of products and services, all built on one platform of proven psychology and technology, organizations can test the skill-set of potential employees before hiring them with ESP. They can build stronger teams with the Emergenetics Profile. They can facilitate leadership training and ensure employees and managers are communicating properly with Emergenetics Applications. And, finally, organizations can provide a better feedback model with the EG360 performance evaluation tool. It’s also a new way to look at the employee life cycle—as an organization you can: Hire the right employee Train that employee through their strengths Put that employee into teams and coordinate Emergenetics insights into their daily work Evaluate employee performance based on a language that is familiar to the Now, not only can you hire the right people, train those people to maximize their strengths and potential, and utilize a more consistent, valuable feedback system—you can also take the next step and connect Emergenetics into every facet of your business. With Emergenetics Applications, we are focusing on a platform of maximizing your expertise. Via the Emergenetics model, we give you new tools to accentuate your strengths and face your challenges. Tools like The Emergenetics Change Management Module for taking all levels of employees through the Change process…like Tip Sheets for creating more effective, productive and…yes…more profitable teams. You want to know how to position your workforce to set better, more reachable goals (and do it through their own unique preference set)…you’ve got it. You want to ensure that they know exactly how to manage their time and schedule to ensure that those goals get met…again…you’ve got it. Emergenetics International is evolving with your company—and enhancing your success.