Equip people to lead themselves & lead you in what they are good at 

There’s so many misguided theories about leadership. We’ve all read articles about “leading by example” or “serving to lead”. The ideas sound wonderful but miss two important realities: leaders are human and the practice of leadership is about learning how to be led not how to lead others. If you are in a leadership position and you accept these two realities about yourself, leading becomes a space for you to accept yourself, learn more about yourself and grow, sometimes even more than the people you are charged with leading. We’re sharing a few tips on how to create more leaders and learn to be led as a leader.  

  • Accept and respect your humanity 

Too often, we create the pressure for leaders, especially women in leadership, to appear “perfect”. As leaders we interpret “leading by example” to mean being almost parental to the people we lead: forever the problem-solver, the counsellor, the endlessly patient, the always available. And taking on that impossible role reinforces the expectation that our team starts having of us to be perfect. Without realising it, and with the best of intentions, people place leaders on a pedestal and leaders happily take up that mantle until something happens that reminds everyone that leaders are human and everything comes crashing down. It is important as a leader to reject the temptation to create a veneer of perfection. Install yourself as human, as someone who makes mistakes, who doesn’t always have the answers, who experiences anxiety, self-doubt, anger, frustration, stress. If you allow your team to know you and see you as human, you create the space to make mistakes, to fail and to call on them to help you navigate the challenges. 

  • Invest in the tools that help you and your team get to know themselves 

Self-discovery is an active investment in the tools, the resources and the support you need to keep getting to know yourself. Knowing what makes you tick is so empowering. It allows you to help others understand how to get the best out of you and importantly, what brings out the worst in you. It is so valuable to building a healthy dynamic to invest in the tools, resources and support for your team to embark on their own self-discovery. Having everyone know each other’s pain points, how to bring out the best in each other, how each works differently, communicates differently, has different needs allows you to craft collaborations that really unlock value for you, for your team and for your organisation. 

  • Be active in confronting your insecurities  

AMAZI  CEO and Co-founder Divya Vasant believes that “broken people create broken organisations”. One of the reasons she and her team at AMAZI launched their Virtual Knowledge Hub, is to share the tools they have found invaluable in leading themselves authentically as a group of women entrepreneurs. Vasant shares that she found her insecurities being reflected back in the organisation she was building. Early on, she realized that if she did not invest in understanding how her life-story had created self-limiting narratives that she kept reinforcing, she wouldn’t be able to create an organisation that allowed her, and the women she works with to unlock their potential. One of AMAZI’s core values is “to nurture the untapped potential of women” and the founding team believes the practice starts with them. They’ve collected a toolkit of insights and practices over the years that they’ve packaged into easy, bite-sized learning modules which they’ve made accessible and affordable to any woman keen on harnessing her true potential.  

  • Create an environment that encourages your team to lead you 

The phrase “leadership should aim to create more leaders, not followers” could not be more important than it is now, at a time where all of us have been gripped by the overwhelming uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown at us. Nobody has all the answers, everyone is trying to figure out how to navigate this time. Leaders who want to present themselves as being “strong” and having the answers are less useful than those who take the opportunity to support and create the space for their team to lead them. When you allow your team to guide you on what they are strong at, where in your organisation they see themselves feeling confident, feeling energised and adding value, you give them the opportunity to lead you in building that area. Allow yourself as a leader to spend your energy empowering your team to take the lead in the areas they thrive in instead of trying to spread yourself thin and come up with all the answers. AMAZI’s Virtual Knowledge Hub courses cover topics such as “Leading myself authentically”, “Do you know yourself”, “Awakening to your Why” and are written as if the team is having a conversation with you while you unpack these topics. The practical exercises shared are tools that the AMAZI team uses in their day to day to help build their organisation. The mobile application allows you to do a quick section, a self-reflective exercise while you travel to work or wait in line at the grocery store. And most importantly, these modules are affordable because the AMAZI team recognises that self-development tools and support are needed now more than ever so while budgets may be slim, the Virtual Knowledge Hub offers leaders an affordable way to connect their teams to empowering content. The courses range from R450.00 to R1200.00 and offer a variety of holistic modules designed to impart knowledge, a solid skill-set and confidence. Courses including Awakening to your WHY (R450.00) and Leading Yourself Authentically (R850.00) are firm favourites in igniting a team member that is resilient, mindful and tenacious. 

  • Have honest conversations  

Now, more than ever, is the time to get uncomfortable as a leader. It is uncomfortable to share with your team that “I am not coping, I need to take some time offline to decompress” or “I am anxious about our finances, I need to help to think through what we can do”. Sharing what is making you feel stuck, what is gripping you at your throat, what is keeping you up at night is difficult and uncomfortable. It may also be difficult and uncomfortable for your team to hear it. But out of this discomfort comes the opportunity to forge a more authentic relationship with your team where you can ask for support in a way you may have never done before and your team has the opportunity to step into being able to lead and support you in a way they may never have been given before.  

About AMAZI 

AMAZI is a group of companies with the purpose to innovate opportunities, platforms and models that champion the economic inclusion of women. The Group began that journey by launching a holistic skills development and employment creation programme that trained young, unemployed women to become beauty professionals and introduced them to the world of work through a 12-month learnership at our AMAZI stores. As COVID reshapes the format of how earning opportunities will be created, AMAZI is evolving its model to become an incubator supporting women to become self-sufficient.  Visit www.amazibeauty.co.za for more information. 

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