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Anyone can Improve their Leadership: The Secret to Being an Exemplary Leader By Andrea Zintz and Jane Firth
4 weeks ago Posted in: Blog, Leadership Development 0

Even without having a management or leadership title, you are having an impact on the people you work with. What kind of impact are you having? Is it one that allows you to be exemplary? Through our work and research, we’ve identified the qualities and strengths that are present in leaders who succeed in being exemplary. Let’s look at the three g’s of exemplary leaders: grit, grace and gravitas. We’ll start with some initial examples of how exemplary leaders use grace to refine their impact and rebalance their grit and their gravitas.

1. The Importance of Grit

Grit is what you use when you work in earnest to complete a project, when you push yourself to overcome obstacles to a desired finish line. But grit can become out of balance. For instance, too little grit can stop you from saying “yes” to opportunities that could benefit from your leadership. Or, too much grit can have you come across as pushy and insensitive. Learning to use the skills and qualities of grace changes the impact of your grit for the better. For instance, an exemplary leader looks to balance his or her grit with grace by approaching things constructively. They replace the tendency to be pushy and insensitive with a commitment to have people feel valued and appreciated. They generate alignment to achieve results.

2. The Importance of Gravitas

Gravitas refers to the depth of your knowledge and experience to date. Just like with grit, gravitas can become out of balance. For instance, too little gravitas can affect your self-confidence. Instead of developing skills that increase your confidence, you compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking. Too much gravitas can have you thinking you are better than others. To stand out, you behave in ways that diminishes others, or take credit, and status away from others. With grace balancing gravitas, a more generous mindset becomes available. For example, grace can be used to become more self-aware and confident, replacing the tendency to compete in negative ways. Attention and behavior can shift from negatively competing to bringing out the best in oneself and others. Exemplary leaders lean-in to collaboration to create synergy and innovation. When it comes to taking risks, they don’t see failure as a signal to blame and find fault. They use failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and become more effective.

3. Grace is the Game Changer

What is grace and why does it matter? Here is the secret to its considerable value. It changes your impact for the better and increases the value of your grit and gravitas. The skills and qualities of grace are rooted in using power constructively. Constructive power is always within our reach. And when we reach for it, our impact changes for the better; enhancing our approaches, our behaviors, the quality of how we connect with people, and our demeanor — our overall attitude and way of being. Grace helps us deal with difficult people and situations with compassion, energy and inspiration.

Let’s start with how grace helps us deal with difficult situations. Think of a recent time your emotions were triggered at work. For instance, maybe someone criticized you in front of everyone in a meeting and you felt embarrassed. Or perhaps you felt upset because you were passed over for something you thought you deserved. Maybe you felt frustrated in trying to explain something you were trying to get across to someone. Rather than struggle in the moment, find fault with yourself or blame someone else, grace gives you compassionate permission to take time to gather your thoughts. Grace helps you understand the emotions you

feel, regain your composure, and find the clarity you need to more effectively deal with what happened.

Grace helps us lead with compassion, energy and inspiration. Developing critical social skills, such as:

· Listening to understand with focused attention,

· Having greater empathy for ourselves and others, and

· Understanding how to earn and engender trust; it’s important to help others feel safe with you.

When you infuse the skills and qualities of grace into your approaches, behaviors, into the quality of how you connect with people, and into your demeanor, extraordinary things become possible. As one exemplary leader put it, “I like myself better this way.”

Paying attention to the skills and qualities of grace balances your grit and gravitas and helps you distinguish yourself in exemplary ways. Is there an imbalance in your grit or your gravitas that you’d like to improve? Our book Grit, Grace, & Gravitas will help you increase the value of your impact. Let us know what you find!

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