I recently attended a music festival and enjoyed being exposed to some new artists. I promptly added them to my Spotify playlist to continue the musical journey. In doing so I took a good look at the songs I’d had on repeat for some time.

This reflection made me consider the ‘songs’ we might have on our leadership playlist. Here are a few of my favourites you might like to consider.

“Man in the mirror” by Michael Jackson

One of the key elements of great leadership is self-awareness. Taking a long look in the mirror and reflecting upon our behaviours and our impact on others is essential to personal growth and improved ability to lead others. From self-awareness comes improved self-regulation. “If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

“Love the one you’re with” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

As a leader it is important to be fully present at all times. Whether we are interacting with employees, communicating with our clients, or in meetings with the executive team, it is important to show our commitment and focus to the person or task at hand. For interpersonal communication active listening is key – listening with the intent to understand, not reply.

When focusing on a task at hand, minimising distractions and multi-tasking will provide much higher quality output. If you don’t direct your attention to those you are with “you don’t remember who you’re talkin’ to, concentration slips away”.

“Help!” by The Beatles

Life doesn’t come with a playbook and we all look to trusted advisors and mentors through the course of our professional career. As a leader there are often challenges and situations we may need assistance, advice and an independent ear to help navigate. A good leader will know who to have on their team for support and when to call out for help.

Additionally, we need to know when to step back or step out; when to prioritise self-care and ensure we fit our own oxygen masks first. There may come a time when we need to ask “Help me get my feet back on the ground” from one of our trusted advisors, our friends, our family.

“Count on me” by Bruno Mars

Just as we all need help from time to time, we also need to be there for our people. As a leader, your support of your people is paramount. They need to feel you ‘have their back’ and that you can be trusted to represent and champion them if necessary.

We know people bring their whole selves to work and as a leader you need to show this is not only expected but welcomed. Creating a culture of inclusion and belonging starts with trust and support. Your role is to show the value and contribution every person adds to the journey and a line of sight to the organisation’s purpose and objectives. “If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see, I’ll be the light to guide you”.

“Empathy” by Alanis Morissette

And our final track on the playlist is empathy. As a leader and influencer, it is important to be able to understand and appreciate the path others walk. To order build rapport, provide feedback, address undesirable behaviours and low performance it is important to display empathy. It’s not about feeling sorry for someone but more about appreciating their perspective and position.  “Thank you for seeing me, I feel so less lonely”.

So that’s my short leadership playlist – I could go on and on. What tune would you add to the mix? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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If you’d like to have a conversation around supporting your leaders, please feel free to contact me. I’ve created a 5-step leadership framework focused on developing highly productive, emotionally intelligent leaders.

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