Right now, as I write in 2022, it feels as though we’ve known nothing but turbulent times for a good two or three years. Probably even longer depending on how you choose to view things. Effective leadership is something that might feel in short supply to you, but what does it mean to be a leader and why should we all strive to be one, especially during turbulent times?
The thing is, you don’t need to be in a leadership position in order to benefit from being a more effective leader. When we talk about “leadership” it can tend to feel as though we’re just talking about corporate higher-ups and/or politicians. The fact is though, that most of us are in a position of some form of leadership.
The most obvious perhaps is being a parent. That, I would argue, is probably the most important and profound leadership role that we can ever undertake. There are others though. It might be at work, a club/society that you belong to, maybe you have a podcast or Youtube channel. Whenever you engage with others in fact, you take on a leadership role to one degree or another. Which begs the question…
What is leadership?
In essence, leadership is about making strategic decisions on behalf, and for the betterment of others. That might be for you and your spouse, it could be a team, a state, or even an entire alliance of countries. Based upon certain criteria, you are the agreed person to guide others in one or more ways. This doesn’t have to be in an official capacity. You might be leading others through your work, social media, podcast etc… and never even know about it.
Where a lot of people go wrong is in focussing their efforts on the art of convincing others. As Plato said: “Only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it.” It’s not just a case of convincing others that you should be in a position of authority and leadership; you should actually be authoritative and competent, in order to be an effective leader. Indeed: your position of leadership should be a byproduct of that competency.
This is what turbulent times tend to ‘weed out’ of course. Those who have attained positions of leadership through misrepresenting themselves and their credentials are left wanting when crisis strikes.
So here are my Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times
1 – A Clear Vision
You can’t chart a course for ‘America,’ and hope you’ll end up on a sun-drenched beach somewhere. You need the specific coordinates for Florida. The same is true of your goals.
I teach this to my clients all the time, but you need to build a crystal clear picture in your mind about what the end goal feels like. I’m talking about the emotions it will illicit, how you’ll feel and conduct yourself, once that goal is achieved. This may sound daft, but by doing so you prepare your subconscious (and subsequently yourself) for being that person, avoiding the mental roadblocks that can derail your progress.
Knowing exactly where you’re heading, will also make it easier to communicate to others. I am sure you’ve had moments like this in your life, when you’re so clear about where you want to be and what you want to experience, that finding the words to explain it happens effortlessly.
2 – Alignment
Once you have a clearly defined outcome, you need to make sure that your actions are taken in alignment with that goal. It’s no good simply stating what you want to happen, without considering the changes you’ll need to enact within yourself. Many of us do that about things that we never see past the declarative state.
You need to find a process/modality/method that creates an energetic alignment between you and your goal. Without it, you will struggle to take other people with you.
Remember: the mind does not lose.
A big reason why you will have failed to realize dreams or goals in the past is because deep down: you didn’t really want them. Your subconscious mind runs up to nine-million times faster than your conscious mind. If it’s not on board, you don’t have a chance.
If you want to be an effective leader, you need to have that deep-seated desire to succeed, in order to effectively execute it with your team. This takes work, to cultivate within your subconscious an understanding that achieving a stated aim will be desirable.
I have plenty of very effective exercises for doing this, but alas: not enough room here to describe them. My advice would always be though, to seek out techniques that work for, and are aligned with you.
3 – Surround Yourself With the Best People & Seek Council
It may sound ridiculous to point out, given the topic of this article; but you can’t achieve your goals by yourself. We’re talking about leadership, after all, so it stands to reason that you need to be engaged with others in pursuit of your aims.
Part of effective leadership, especially during turbulent times, is ensuring that you have the very best people working with you. If you think about all of the tasks and elements that are required to achieve your goals, there probably isn’t enough time within your lifetime, in order to complete them all. You need a team working as efficiently and effectively as possible, in order to get there.
That requires that you choose them carefully.
Not only do you need help from the best operational people, but you also need the best guidance and mentorship. Being a leader does not mean that you do not need leadership yourself. If you want to be effective, especially at times of turbulence when tolerances are tighter and less forgiving, you need advice.
My mentor, Greg S. Reid, is fond of saying: “Seek counsel, not opinions” and he’s absolutely right. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of valuing (and therefore acting on) someone’s opinion, just because they are familiar. They may well have excellent judgment and your best interest at heart, but can they offer you true council? Have they walked the path you’re on? If not: find someone who has!
4 – Focus
As a leader, you need to cut through the background noise and maximize efficiency. There are a million distractions to pull you off target, so you need to get highly skilled in assessing whether or not something that comes up is worth your time. If you’ve mastered number one on this list, making that judgment will be all the more easy to do.
What we place our focus on, is what makes up our reality. If you cast your mind back to the mid-nineties, especially if you lived in the UK (as I did at the time) Mad Cow Disease (BSE) was all anybody could talk about. Politicians, the media, Jo Blogs public – they all pointed fingers and whipped up such a frenzy, that hundreds of cattle were destroyed, exports banned and the whole cattle farming industry in the UK was brought to its knees. I remember that, at the height of the scare, people genuinely thought they were going to die of BSE over the coming year, just because they’d eaten beef at some point in their lives.
As of June 2014, 177 people contracted and died from the disease, which in a post-covid world seems like a drop in the ocean. And now; it’s never spoken about. People are consuming beef without a care in the world and BSE never crosses their minds. The disease still exists, but it no longer controls behavior.
My point is: what you choose to focus on makes up your reality. That’s not to say that crises won’t arise from areas that you’re not focussed on, but why choose to focus on them voluntarily? In doing so, you’re freely giving your power away and subjugating yourself to events that haven’t happened.
Effective leadership requires that you are able to cut your own path and not give away your power by focussing on unnecessary things.
5 – Discover Your Leadership Superpower
Leadership is not about being the best at everything. It’s about tapping into your strengths and discovering where you are best at leading from. My friend Jake Carlson is a business leader, and he talks a lot about discovering your “Leadership Superpower.” This is the platform from which you are at your most effective as a leader. Whether that’s in confidence, influence, accountability… these are all Leadership Superpowers.
You can take his free Leadership Superpower Assessment here to find yours: www.jakeacarlson.com/dwd
Think about people you look up to and whose guidance you follow. Why? Is it their charisma? Their ability to express themselves and convey their message? Maybe you find their competency attractive and their discipline in their work. Whatever it is, you have this in one or more areas too. Own it!
In Conclusion – The Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader
Leadership starts with you. Your vision, alignment, and your peeps, the people in your circle. Focus and understanding of your leadership superpower support the follow-through, they support you while you are taking action. Just as with the pursuit of any goal: it all comes down to your inner game. Master that and you’ll be able to inspire, focus minds and get it done.
From his humble upbringing in London, England Daniel Mangena has forged a path to becoming a highly successful entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and public speaker.
His ongoing mission is to empower people and resource them to choose a life of abundance. He is passionate and dedicated to enabling others to realize their own, unique dream life – using the very tools that have enabled him to do just that.
Daniel has published four best-selling books: Stepping Beyond Intention, From Time to Time, The Dreamer’s Manifesto and The Money Game: A Wealth Manifestation Guide.
Today Daniel lives his ultimate, dream life in Cabo, Mexico with his young family. He speaks regularly, offers group coaching and one-to-one sessions. He is a guest contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, Brainz Magazine, The Good Men Project, and many other top publications.