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Distinguishing yourself as a Top Leader

Pressure on performance and style of leadership has never been greater. Strategic influencing and impact coach Helga offers her 5 top tips for making yourself stand out in leadership hierarchies. For leaders who believe ideas, information and diligent delivery are the routes to leadership stardom and business success it is the best and worst times. Ideas that turn organisational pain and opportunities into commercial efficiency and competitive advantage delivers distinct impact to the bottom line, however, whilst this gets you on the page for competent leadership it does not differentiate you from your peers. It is those who are gifted with the skills of oration, presence and connected networks who tend to steal the spotlight.

Here are my 5 top tips that will help you to stand out in leadership hierarchies:

1 – Promote insight over information and intuition

Information offers meaningful order to raw data. It may or may not move you. Insight offers new learning, meaningful perspectives, powerful projections that change the quality and direction of what is done next. It changes awareness and thinking. It changes you.

Make offering insight your goal. Value-rich, specific, accurate, relevant, considered, distilled, future-oriented insights over organised statements of information, every time.

Whilst time is fixed (24 hours a day) the value derived from deploying it varies. Aim for high value return for you and your audience in any time frame. (see my blog: When air time is a waste of time).

2 – Focus on your “Being” as well as your “Doing”

People have thoughts and feelings about you before they have thoughts and feelings about your message. What are you saying about who you are through how you look, sound and interact with others? As the saying suggests “I may forget what you say but I’ll never forget how you made me feel”. It’s the being more than the doing that sticks. Stand out for the being as well as the doing.

3 – Network for insight

There isn’t time to do the learning from scratch. Neither is it time-efficient to do so. Explore and exploit networking opportunities that offer you insights or ideas that have meaning and resonance for your organisation. Ask those you admire for their insights on your organisational challenges or how they would approach it. Take their insights and extrapolate to your business. If you make additional connections as a result, even better, but make the gaining of insight your primary objective.

4 – Keep the main thing the main thing

Connect with why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why are you doing that over something else? Why that, why now? If you can’t align your activity to a discernible strategic imperative, revisit your choice.

Once you know why you’re doing what you’re doing: the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

5 – Create a safe-haven for recovery and recharging

Being a leader is demanding. You need to be and do. Inspire and offer insight. Enlighten and engage. Control and connect. Adapt and be authentic. Process and perform. Convince and collaborate.

Find a safe haven to help you recover, recuperate and recharge your batteries to fuel all these endeavours. Find those people and places where you feel safe to share your frustrations, fears and feelings. Being human is, after all, an important part of being authentic and an inspirational leader.

Helga is our Influencing and Impact Specialist. Helga has over 20 years’ experience supporting leaders and their teams in large multinational organisations to polish their influencing and impact skills to improve overall business performance.

Further reading

Amy Cuddy – Connect then lead Harvard Business Review

Robert Goffee & Gareth Jones – Why should anyone be led by you? Harvard Business Review

Amy Cuddy – Your body language may shape who you are Ted Talks

About Aziz Corporate

Aziz was founded over 40 years ago by Khalid Aziz, a media pioneer of his day who at 21 became the youngest ever appointed BBC producer.

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