The Face of Leadership, written by Nick Roud. Global Award Winning Executive Leadership Coach.
When a leader approaches maturity you see a natural not forced transition. Gone is the desire to prove themselves. Over years they have come to realise a few important aspects of their own leadership approach. Having witnessed many immature leaders step across the line to a mature leader its not uncommon for the following to occur for them.
*ability to read the room
*calm when under enormous pressure
*ok making mistakes
So what is the face of leadership in 2023? I want to look at the actual face. The face of a human (not a robot)!
Let’s start with the Leaders Brain!
Over time the leaders job was to store as much information needed to ensure outcomes happened. The face of a leader’s brain is not less cluttered, it’s organised a little bit like a library, it is in sync which the person’s heart. The leader’s brain has the ability to turn from Board room to factory floor and the recipient does not see a shift in thought. The brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised. This can be done in a variety of ways but the person can lean into those learnings and make use of them at the appropriate time. The leader has worked out what information must be let go of and what to pass onto someone else. They don’t hold onto that knowledge like a child with a teddy bear. They share that teddy bear and encourage others to add to it, take ownership of it and nature it onwards.
The Leaders Eyes.
Sparkle with excitement, why? Because they love the work they do? They love the impact that they are making and they love the people they have surrounded themselves with. The leaders eyes are not closed, they are in fact wide open – calm, reassuring sometimes full his/her eyes are full of tears both in joy and in sadness. They don’t hide behind the sunglasses and they don’t as Charlie Chaplin once said I go in out in the rain so others don’t see my tears. The leader holds eye contact, they just know what to look for and again happy to make mistakes. A leaders eyes are not for anyone else, but just like with the leaders brain they share the vision of what they want to see happen, they bring others close and into what they are looking at and share conversation. The mature leader wants to sit in the others person’s eyes and understand what he/she is seeing, they appreciate when its time to step in and step back. The leaders eyes tell a story that only a special small group actually see. The mature leaders eyes observe what is being said and more importantly not being said and encourage others to share views, thoughts ideas, concerns.
The Leaders Ears.
Are wide open, both quietly listen to their surroundings, listening for what is being said. Listening to the actual words that are being spoken. The immature leader has not developed the beautiful art of listening. They are far to busy wanting to talk as apposed to just sitting and listening. Only speaking when appreciate. The leaders ears pick up the laughter going on in the background, the birds singing in the trees, the traffic going past, yet they remain effortlessly present. There ears are there shop window into reality, when others speak, they lean in, their ears pen wider and they appreciate the other person. A leaders ears must be finally tuned to the ‘bull-shit’ the energy sappers, they must politely step in when things are going off track and course correct. A leader can only do so if they are being uber attentive in listening.
The Leaders Mouth.
It’s not fixed in a constant smile nor a sower puss upside down smile. The leaders mouth speak words of truth, they use language that meets the other person where he/she is at. They are comfortable sitting in silence and able to articulate complex things in a less obscure way. The mature leaders mouth has learnt when to shut up, when to speak and when just to let go. The leaders mouth knows that celebrating the good times and bad times will far outweigh the inconstant leader. A wise owl once said use only your words to encourage, support and help others. Leave the garbage in the bin. I like that approach.
The Leaders Nose
Just like the leaders brain, eyes, ears and mouth the mature leaders nose is finally tuned into what’s going on, they can smell a rat, they can smell the roses. They are not afraid to take in deep breaths through the nose when pressure shows up, this approach calms their whole body and allows the leader to focus on what matters and what doesn’t. Just like a great cook they know when to add in some spice, some salt and some pepper, the leaders nose is a vital part to enabling the leaders face to remain on point.
Take care of your senses when leading people and organisations. Listen to what they are telling you!
Nick Roud is the founder of Nick Roud Coaching, his work has won numerous global leadership development awards, he is a coach to successful CEOs, executives and emerging leaders. A dyslexia introvert that quietly goes about helping leaders lead. You can find our more about Nick 1:1 leadership coaching work by visiting nickroud.com