This is an article we've written for CEO Today Magazine here: What’s On Your Leadership Radar?
Just like a ship has a radar to detect what’s going on around it, as a leader you need to have your radar out to notice what’s happening in your inner world, within yourself, and the outer world of people and environments.
Here Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, leadership strategists with a focus on future trends for leadership and multi award-winning authors of their 3rd Book for ‘The Leader’s Guide To Impact’, explain the ins and outs of leadership and managing your ‘radar’.
This can also be described as self-awareness and social awareness, which is at the core of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). All of this is critical to truly understand what impact you are having as a leader.
Your Internal Leadership Radar
When you switch on your internal Leadership Radar, you become aware of these things:
- how you feel
- what you’re thinking
- your reactions
- what energises you
- what stresses you
- what your values are
- what motivates you
If you for example haven’t picked up that you’re feeling stressed or frustrated, you are not able to adjust your behaviour to the situation you are in and may have a negative impact on your surroundings. If on the other hand, you become more aware of what’s going on inside you, you can take greater control of your state of mind and how that reflects outwards. By taking control of your own thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours, your impact on others can become what you want it to be. Do you want your impact, as a leader, to be inspiring, energising, thought-provoking,collaborative, enlightening, daring, different? Whatever impact you’re going for, engage and take control of your inner first world.
Your External Leadership Radar
To switch on your external Leadership Radar, you need to observe, listen and explore the world around you to better understand the environment, situations, people, moods, interests and political/social landscape. It’s about tuning the world around you. Your leadership radar needs to be operational all the time.
What’s on your external leadership radar? What’s going on around you? What do you need to be aware of?
Once your radar is on, you need to understand the system you’re in. When it comes to system thinking, there are two main systems to consider, the internal system of the organisation and the external system, which is everything outside the organisation that touches it in some way. We would also add the “inner system” of yourself. These three systems when interlinked, show the complete picture of your ripple effect as a leader. By understanding each of them, you can consciously choose how to behave, act and communicate to influence and achieve the strategic aim of the organisation. You become more intentional about the impact you want to have.
With your radar on, the ripple effect you create is more effective
Impact happens on a one to one basis, with individuals, and on a one to many basis, with teams and groups.
Negative impact may for example be as simple as checking emails on your phone when in a one to one situation. How do you think that makes the other person feel? What impact are you having on them? Will they want to go that extra mile for you? And who are they meeting next? How may they now affect that person?
Equally, if you’re presenting to a room full of people, handing out awards and getting the recipients names wrong, your personal brand will be negatively affected. People will feel that they are not important enough to be remembered, or that you didn’t care enough to pay attention to the details. And people tend to remember those situations, so you will now have to work harder to reclaim some lost credibility and achieve the impact you want.
Positive impact can be as simple as saying thanks to someone who helped. It doesn’t matter how small or large, just taking the time to stop and say thanks can have a huge impact on people. In the busy world that we live in we can easily forget this important and impactful effort.
What’s on your radar? Is it switched on so that you fully understand what’s going on around you and how you need to lead and respond to create long-term, sustainable results?
You have a strategy for your business, why not have a strategy for your own impact?