By Linda Fisher Thornton
In Part 1 of this series we looked at how leaders generate meaningful environments where others can thrive. In Part 2 we explored a leader’s own quest for authenticity. In Part 3 we’ll look at the role of powerful conversations and a focus on collective success.
What is Meaningful Leadership? Real Conversations and Relational ROI
Powerful conversations get to the deeper recesses of issues that concern people and interfere with individual and collective success.
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”
— Maya Angelou
Meaningful leadership is relational, and leaders who are good at it think in terms of a sort of relational ROI.
“I believe that the most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed.”
— Adam Grant
Leaders who are clearly committed to relational ROI balance out tasks and people and show that they understand that leadership is not all about them.
“We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others.”
— Thomas Merton
When leaders are willing to, in the words of Maya Angelou, infuse conversations with deeper meaning, people feel more connected to their work and their teams.
When leaders place a priority on interpersonal awareness and positive interactions with others, people find a safe space to make a meaningful contribution.
Meaningful leadership doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations that meet an important human need to find meaning. Ask yourself:
- How open am I to talking about whatever difficult work-related topic people want to discuss?
- How willingly do I dig into the details of what it means to live out our values, even when those values seem to conflict?
- What steps can I take to be more accessible, more open and more responsive to the human need for meaningful communication?
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