The Five Pillars of Leadership - what a grand title this post has turned out to be!

As it turns out, after coming up with the title, I found a book titled the same thing - however, what I am about to talk about in this post is unrelated.  The five pillars I am about to write about is about five attributes and areas of our lives I believe we need to get control over to be successful in leadership.

The five areas that I call pillars are:

  • Physical Health;
  • Mental Health;
  • Leadership Skills;
  • Team Boosters;
  • Daily Thoughts.

Physical Health

Being in good physical health does not require an introduction - however, as the stresses of daily life build up, it can be one of the first things to be neglected.  What is evident is there are links between good physical health and mental function that gives lasting energy and resilience to get you through the day.  These attributes play a vital role when leading and dealing with the demands of leading a team.  Looking after your diet through good nutrition, getting adequate sleep, and regular exercise will balance your body for the stresses that may be ahead.

Mental Health

During the safety announcements on a plane, we often are told, "in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first".  The reason for this, if we can help ourselves, it makes it easier to help others.  With mental health, the same rule applies. We need to concentrate on our mental health and be aware of the warning signs when things may be wrong.  Early intervention not only helps us, but allows us to spot the danger signs in our team.  Things you can do to look after your mental health are:

  • Talking openly about your feelings with others;
  • Stay active and get regular exercise;
  • Remember to take breaks out of your day;
  • Ask for help when required;
  • Accept yourself.

Leadership Skills

There are many varying leadership skills, some more positive than others. I think there is a responsibility on us all to invest in our personal development.  As an example,  A fitness instructor needs to invest in their continuous professional development (CBD) to ensure they deliver the safest and most effective service to their clients.  The same applies to leadership - nothing remains the same, and there is a constant change in practices, people skills, teams and individuals. Leaders need to be constantly learning to ensure they deliver to their teams.  It is important to remember that leaders work for their teams, not the other way around.

Team Boosters

One of the fundamental roles of a leader is to ensure they can get the most out of their team.  Anyone can lead a team when things are going well, but we know things can and do go wrong.  The ability to motivate underperforming or demotivated team members requires a high level of emotional intelligence. However, there are other ways to achieve motivation in a team setting - ideas might include:

  • Create a shared vision;
  • Creating opportunities for team members to lead on;
  • Being inclusive and allowing all team members to have a voice, including the less vocal;
  • Creating a psychologically safe environment;
  • Honour and recognise the effort people put in.

Daily Thoughts

The last pillar is our ability to appreciate what we have and how far we have come in our journey.  We simply are not going to get everything right, and we must accept we will make wrong decisions from time to time.  We are all just figuring things out as we go making the best choices based on the information we have at the time.

If we accept we are fallible and be grateful for the things we have achieved by doing the best we can - it creates a calm inside us that makes it easier to cope.  It also creates space in the mind that allows us to be more creative and resilient.

Take time out each day to appreciate how incredible you are.

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They will inspire you to focus on each of the five pillars to become a better leader and a better you.