Great leaders change the world. This is what you can learn about becoming one, from some of the best!
Great leaders change the world. But it isn’t always easy: leadership demands hard work, dedication, and creativity. I was recently reminded of the transformative power (and huge challenges) of great leadership at an event for Real Leaders™ in New York this October.
Real Leaders™ –- the world’s first sustainable business and leadership magazine, which aims to inspire better leaders for a better world –- hosted a panel of impact leaders at the event. This panel was held in conjunction with UNGA to discuss how both established and emerging citizens are taking innovative actions to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Panelists included Jay Shetty, an award-winning online host and filmmaker, Jess Jacobs, an actress and co-founder of Invisible Pictures, and Marci Zaroff, Founder of MetaWear Organic and BeyondBrands.
Here are some of the ways they along with todays other most prominent visionaries redefine what it means to lead. It’s through their examples that we can all be inspired and learn to lead in more profound ways.
1. Be the Leader You Want to See in the World
Ghandi urged humanity to be the change we want to see in the world — and that philosophy underlines Real Leaders Magazine founder Mark Van Ness’ leadership strategy. “We cannot wait for politicians to solve the world’s problems,” said Van Ness, speaking to the diverse group of global leaders who came together in New York City for the event. “Leaders in our everyday lives, including business leaders, are stepping up everywhere to fill the leadership void.”
2. Don’t Hide from the Truth
David Mikkelson made waves as the founder and CEO of Snopes.com, the world’s first online fact-checking website. So, it’s not surprising that a commitment to facts, honesty, and truth is at the core of his leadership style. “To inspire people, leaders need to be trustworthy and direct,” said Mikkelson. “Great leaders don’t just have a vision: they share that vision with those around them.”
3. Get Uncomfortable
When Seth Godin, a former dot com executive and author of seventeen books, needs to inspire others to reach their highest potential, he challenges himself to do the same. “If you’re not pushing yourself to new and uncomfortable heights, how can you expect anyone else to?” said Godin, emphasizing the leadership philosophy he detailed in his book V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone. “Leaders are willing to take calculated risks — and that’s why they are so inspirational.”
4. Leaders Dive Right In
When AquaMobile Swim School founder and CEO Diana Goodwin was a child, she refused to get into the cold public pool with other kids for swim lessons. But years later, at only 19 years-old, Goodwin turned that old fear into a business empire that has made millions. “I started out with nothing but an idea and a $3,000 grant,” said Goodwin. “I had every reason to hesitate — but I didn’t. I fought for my dream — and, in doing so, inspired everyone around me to follow my lead.”
5. Invest in the Power of Women
Actress Jess Jacobs, co-founder of the production company Invisible Pictures and star of the film “Butterfly Caught” says that gender parity is a critical part of any leadership strategy. “Without women in your organization, you’ll miss out on the enormous contributions of half of the population,” said Jacobs. “Having women in leadership positions is vital for a number of reasons, but especially because of their deep capacity for collaborative thought and action. As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that women are represented throughout your company.”
6. Stay On Top of Cultural Trends To inspire and keep in touch with their teams, culture expert and founder of Authentic Ventures James Andrews says it’s important for great leaders to remember that there’s a world outside the company. “Things change quickly, so innovators need to keep a finger on the pulse of change by plugging into culture,” said Andrews. “Leaders have to respond to the world around them, and that’s not possible if you don’t have a system of engaging and listening to the pulse. Being tone-deaf and unaware of what’s happening could be the difference maker for your company being successful or not.”
7. Lead Healthy Teams
Without a healthy team you can’t accomplish much. Hemalee Patel is a Stanford University affiliated Internal medicine physician, who has devoted her professional life to educating people on how to transition from acceptable health to optimal health. “Whatever your business is — even if you’re the best at what you do, it won’t matter if you and your teams are not able to deal with the stress, anxiety, and daily onslaught of activity associated with being a leader.” Dr. Patel warns that it’s not only important to take care of yourself but equally important to support your teams to make positive lifestyle choices too, including practicing mindfulness, daily physical activity, and healthy eating.