Practices of Exemplary Leadership – Intentions – by Arushi Agarwal

Recently, we have discussed the five practices of exemplary leadership, and by taking assessments, we have pinpointed our strong qualities and our weaknesses. There are five practices: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. We are already practicing Challenging the Process so from the rest, my top four areas of improvement in order are: Inspire a Shared Vision, Model the Way, Encourage the Heart, Enable Others to Act. Below are three goals in my top two:

Practice 1: Model the Way

  • Talks about values and principles
  • Sets personal example
  • Aligns others with principles and standards

Practice 2: Inspire a Shared Vision

  • Shows others how their interests can be communicated
  • Looks ahead and communicates future
  • Communicates purpose and meaning

I will focus on Practice 2 – Inspire a Shared Vision.

The two commitments of inspiring a shared vision are: Envisioning the Future and Enlisting Others.

Envisioning the Future involves thinking about what your values are and why they are so important to you. By imagining a how a problem can be improved, small or large, we can use our experiences and values to work towards a better world.  This vision will be why people join; they will believe in how we are envisioning the future. My action item to ask “what’s next” about every project.

  • Ask yourself what it is you care about, what drives you, where your passions lie.
  • Think about all the things you want to accomplish. Can you say why these are so important to you? How do they connect to your values?
  • Try to change the thinking about what you and others are doing; move it from being just an assignment, project, or event to becoming a “calling.”
  • What past experiences might be clues for understanding key themes in your life and for knowing what you find worthwhile? Make a list for each set of clues and see how they might connect.
  • Stay curious about what is going on around you––especially things that aren’t working well.
  • Be the one who asks “what’s next?” about every project long before it is completed.
  • List five ways you can think about and find out about the future. Practice them all.
  • Make a commitment to listen to others about what is important to their future.
  • Come up with ways you can involve others in creating what could be possible; don’t make it a process where you give out the orders about what to do.
  • Get people on the same page, the same path, about where you all are going.

Enlisting Others involves the leader being optimistic, enthusiastic, and dedicated in their vision. People want to be a part of something where motivated people work hard and through imagery arouse emotions in others. It’s hard to get people to join they have not fully understood the vision or personally connected to it. Enlisting others means taking the time to ensure that people are able to connect with the vision on a personal level. My action item is to be positive and upbeat when talking about change. 

  • Talk to others in your group and find out about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future. Look for patterns and themes in their responses. Determine what their dreams have in common and how they align with your vision for the group.
  • Speak about what your group can do specifically to bring the shared aspirations to life. Show that you listen to what they say by bringing their thoughts and ideas into the vision for the group. How will you rephrase or connect the dreams of others to your group’s vision?
  • Come up with ways to make sure that people are clear about what makes the group unique and how proud they can be about being distinctive.
  • Show others how their long-term interests are served by them enlisting in a common vision, even if there may be some short-term sacrifices. Why should they persevere? How will there be a healthy self-interest in achieving a common good?
  • Share metaphors, symbols, examples, stories, pictures, and words that represent the image of what you all aspire to become.
  • Be positive, upbeat, and energetic when talking about the future of your organization.
  • Be expressive. Use gestures, vary your tone of voice, and speak with authority. All these help others to experience your conviction for what you envision. And, if you haven’t already done so, take a public speaking course.
  • Acknowledge the emotions of others and validate them as important. When doing this, ask yourself if you are focusing more on the positive, productive emotions, or spending too much time on emotions that discourage and make people lose heart for the journey?
  • When you get up each day remind yourself of the positive vision that you hold and the difference you are making. It will help sustain your excitement for what you are doing.

How will I carry out my intentions?

I’ve chosen to work on being able to make my visions known and a source of motivation for others. I will try to do this through my blog posts or in events where we are asked to share about ourselves.

What are some tools that may help me carry out my intentions?

The blog posts will definitely help me to voice my ideas and be a platform for inspiring others.

What are some things that may hold me back from fully carrying out my intentions? How will I deal with them?

At this time, I have a sense of what I really want to change, but I haven’t even tried to express myself in an inspiring way. Over time, by practicing and learning from others, I will be able to have a moving style in my words and use powerful emotion.

Who will I recruit to help me? How can they can help me?

Anyone who listens to me talk or reads my blog posts can help me by giving feedback. Most of all, I’ll have to push myself to fully express all my emotion in powerful words.