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A Guide to Rethinking Effective Leadership in Times of Change

By Olivia Munro | Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar with renowned speaker, author, leadership expert and Babson College Professor, Scott N. Taylor, PhD. Dr. Taylor led the audience on a journey exploring what makes an effective leader and how to become one, regardless of what position or industry you're in. Eze Castle Chief Strategy Officer provided opening and closing remarks, relating back to his experience as a veteran CTO in the investment management world.

To recap, we'll share some of the exercises that can help you evaluate what kind of leader you want to be, and how to get there.

To begin the webinar, Dr. Taylor asks the audience to perform a self-diagnostic exercise to help to gauge your starting point. Listeners rated the following statements on a scale of 1-10 and add them up to get a score out of 100: 
  1. I am faced with decisions that do not have simple answers.
  2. I need to influence outcomes or people for whom I do not have direct control.
  3. I am bombarded with emails, meetings, and expectations that at times seem almost impossible to meet.
  4. I am experiencing increasing demand from multiple directions, with challenges that do not stop growing in size and scope.
  5. I am overwhelmed or worried about not living up to multiple responsibilities in and out of work.
Many who participate in the exercise reported high scores in the 70's and 80's.

Dr. Taylor then gives the first of three homework assignments encouraging reflection on whether listeners consider themselves a resonant leader. This first assignment takes ongoing effort and requires repeatedly and regularly asking yourself the following questions:
  1. Am I authentic and in tune with myself, others, and the environment? 
  2. Have I done the recent self-work necessary to be inner directed and outward focused?
  3. Do I create an overall tone? 
  4. Am I in touch with others? Do I know what is in their hearts and minds?
After you complete the self assessment, you should ask someone else who is committed to your leadership development and will giving honest, unfiltered feedback. The goal is to become a resonant leader, meaning you are the type of leader who manage their and others' emotions in a way that drives success. Becoming a resonant leader is a great way to help improve the numbers in the first exercise, but first, you have to ask yourself some deeper and even more important questions to tap into your ideal self.

Below are questions to help you tap into your ideal self:
  1. What did you love to do when you were young?
  2. Who helped you the most to be the person you are today?
  3. What is your vision of the future?
  4. What do you wish your life to be like in 7-10 years?
  5. Describe the characteristics of who you are in your imagined Ideal Self.
  6. What kind of person would you love to be?
  7. What values and virtues do you wish you could live?
  8. What is your passion?
  9. What do you wish your legacy to be?
  10. What are your core values and beliefs?
  11. Which aspects of your core identity do you wish to maintain and are central to your beliefs about being a good person?
After doing some self-reflection comes Homework Assignment #2: write about your ideal self and create a personal vision statement. To do this effectively, you must write a detailed description of your ideal self, and also write a "headline", or 6-8 words that capture the essence of who you are and what you stand for. Consider areas like your community, career, personal growth, relationships, finances, spiritual, intellectual, and health. Like homework assignment one, this requires ongoing effort, editing and input from others. 

Lastly, homework assignment three asks the following questions, knowing that people thrive best in caring environments where they experience positivity, connections and belonging:
  1. Are you working to increase your autonomy and that of your team?
  2. Are you working to increase your competence and that of your team?
  3. Are you working to improve your relationship with others?
  4. Do you pay attention to the whole person?
Watch the full replay to hear directly from Professor Scott Taylor.
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