Honing In Your Leadership Qualities Through Habits, Empathy & Self Care

Gaining the competencies and skills that make for great leadership qualities is achievable by all people. No matter where you are on your development journey, skills needed to do the job well can be learned, measured and honed.  I loved chatting with John Rouda of the Geek Leader Podcast as we talk about how to become the best kind of leader that we can be, while also caring for our personal priorities.  

We talked about finding the right coach, self-awareness and communication preferences. If you give the an episode a listen you can learn how to  flex your ‘empathy muscle’ to make stronger connections with your team. 


Here’s a deeper peak into our conversation…. 


How to Find the Right Coach For Your Leadership Journey

  • A coach can help you accelerator your career, enhance and optimize your leadership qualities, skills and acumen – mentorship is extremely important in the startup space. 
  • We discuss that although there are numerous ways to find the right coach who aligns with your needs, it’s always better to start with people in your network.
  • Seeking referrals and asking for suggestions from your peers is another great way to find a mentor.
  • If you still can’t find someone that aligns with your goals, then it’s time to expand your search – attend networking events and focus on meeting new people.
  • A solid vibe is one of the most important pieces of a mentor-mentee relationship. You have to click; otherwise, the relationship will feel forced. 
  • A relationship with your coach  is a beautiful orchestra built on trust – if you can’t trust each other, it cannot work. 


Understanding Your Natural Tendencies Improves Your Leadership

  • We discuss Kim Scott’s Radical Candor and why it is a must-read for leaders and especially aspiring leaders. 
  • The more you understand yourself and how you typically lead, the more choice you will have before you act (or react) in the future.
  • Your aim is to be the type of leader that challenges people to become better while showing that you care. 
  • Leaders must set non-negotiables (clear boundaries) for themselves – build a strong foundation of what they need to perform at their best in work and in the personal priorities. 
  • Great leadership is built on a firm understanding of where you’re going and staying connected to that path. 


How to Define the Non-Negotiables in Your Leadership

  • What are non-negotiables, what kinds of boundaries should you set for yourself. 
  • It’s okay when you fail on your non-negotiables. Perfection isn’t the goal. Acknowledge the effort and keep trying, keep going. 


Learning and Flexing Your Empathy Muscle 

  • Most people assume that empathy is something you have to be born with. But as Jen reveals, it’s not. It’s a learnable skill, and a must-have for all leaders. 
  • Empathy in action is understanding people’s struggles and identifying with their challenges. 
  • Think of all those embarrassing moments you faced as a kid. Imagine how great it would have felt if someone genuinely showed you that they cared. 
  • We may mean well when reacting by sharing your own story, but it’s okay to simply be there for that person, and listen.
  • In these empathy moments, your primary goal is to make them feel heard, seen, and validated. 
  • Be empathetic and caring enough to share when you think someone is standing in their own way. Communicate it though with kindness. 
  • Think of it as sitting on the same side of the table and looking at the problem together. 
  • Helping people reach their goals will help the company meet theirs. 


Waterfall Habits That Show You Are Committed To  Yourself 

  • There is always that one habit that if you kick off, it will waterfall into other parts of your life. 
  • Jen describes these habits as things that, once you start doing them, fill you in a way that flows over into other pieces or other habits of your life.
  • As leaders, in a sometimes high-stress world, we need to do more of the things that give us the capacity to face the day/week head-on. 
  • Waterfall habits are all about what action you can take to support yourself day to day. 
  • For some people, it can be as simple as having a good night’s sleep or hitting the gym first thing in the morning. Your power habit doesn’t matter; what matters is that you’re consistent with it. 
  • These habits show your level of commitment to yourself. It shows that you care about yourself. 
  • Take time to nourish your mind, your body – regain control so that you create self care for all areas of your life. 
  • Take steps to instill meaning in your life. 
  • Your body needs fulfillment and connection, and it’s easy to put those ‘habits’ aside as a non-priority.  Take a bigger wider view and notice what is important to you.  


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