No matter your age, your role, your position, your title, your trade, or your status, to get your most important work done, you have to have hard conversations, create accountability, and inspire action.
In order to do that, you need to show up powerfully and magnetically in a way that attracts people to trust you, follow you, and commit to putting 100% of their effort into a larger purpose, something bigger than all of you. You need to care about others and connect with them in such a way that they feel your care. You need to speak persuasively — in a way that’s clear, direct, and honest and that reflects your care — while listening with openness, compassion, and love. Even when being challenged.
And, of course, you need to follow through quickly and effectively. To lead effectively — really, to live effectively — you must be confident in yourself, connected to others, committed to purpose, and emotionally courageous. Most of us are great at only one of the four. Maybe two. But to be a powerful presence — to inspire action — you need to excel at all four simultaneously.
If you’re confident in yourself but disconnected from others, everything will be about you and you’ll alienate the people around you. If you’re connected to others but lack confidence in yourself, you will betray your own needs and perspectives in order to please everyone else. If you’re not committed to a purpose, something bigger than yourself and others, you’ll flounder, losing the respect of those around you as you act aimlessly, failing to make an impact on what matters most. And if you fail to act powerfully, decisively, and boldly — with emotional courage — your ideas will remain idle thoughts and your goals will remain unfulfilled fantasies.
Adapted HBR July 2018 Bregman