With Melissa Griffiths.
If the last few years showed us anything, it highlighted the need for empathetic and emotionally mature leaders. Grounded in one place – with Zoom windows into each other’s homes – many of us felt compelled to look inward, questioning our own views of the world around us, and our leaders.
In this editorial, Mavens contributor and transgender advocate Melissa Griffiths shares the leadership qualities she values in herself and others (qualities that we could all benefit from more of).
Being accountable to yourself is important. Often we forget to do things or don’t follow through when we know we should. Being accountable for any mistakes allows us to correct them and learn from them for the future.
You have to believe in your own abilities, skills and talents first before others will believe in you. You have to demonstrate that you believe in yourself by being brave and confident when interacting with others and making decisions. Not only in an organisational sense but on a personal level in your day-to-day interactions. If others see you acting in such a way, they are more likely to believe in you and follow you.
Whilst I am naturally brave, I believe it is something that you can learn to be. As a leader, you may at times find yourself out of your depth. However, if you tap into your inner strength, you may find that you can go and talk to that person at an event who may be your next client, or open doors in your life or business. It’s about asking yourself ‘what is the worst thing that could happen if I ask that person for what I need?’ The first person you talk to may say ‘no’ (and next person may, too) but eventually someone will say ‘yes’.
Being confident in the way you talk to others is an important leadership quality; you have to be sure of yourself. People want to deal with someone who is confident – someone they can trust. Being confident is not always natural for people but can be learned. Often, over time, one grows confident by taking risks, learning from any mistakes along the way and becoming comfortable in their own skin. This is not quick fix for confidence, however it’s about taking baby steps. One day at time, gradually increasing your confidence in yourself, your skills and abilities.
Having the courage to face issues when they arise is another important quality. If you don’t face issues – especially the really difficult ones – then you won’t be able to learn from them or fix them. Being a leader means having the inner courage to overcome your fears. People have more faith in you if you are willing to tackle issues head on. Even if means stepping out of your comfort zone.
People want empathetic leaders who understand how others feel and behave both at work and outside work. It is important to understand how others may think about you as a leader or the field of work you are in. You need to understand and accept that not everyone is going to welcome you with open arms. If you have this attitude, then you can deal with those who may express hate toward you. You can have empathy for them if they say nasty or spiteful things about you.
Being humble enough to admit when you are wrong in a situation is just as important as being humble when receiving credit for a job well done. Having the ability to listen with humility, and having the integrity to listen and acknowledge another person’s point of view (even if you disagree with it) go hand-in-hand. If you are willing to take onboard what others say to you, it will serve you well. People don’t always value humility or integrity – however, if you do truly value them, people are more likely to respect you than not.
Melissa Griffiths is a Melbourne-based transgender authority and advocate, and media commentator. If you need a new fresh and experienced person on your board or a brand ambassador, emcee or speaker for your next conference, contact Melissa here.