Every leader, whether they know it or not, abides by a set of leadership philosophies and principles. These philosophies are often built over the course of a career and are influenced by many things, including personal experiences.

But even the best leaders make mistakes. This is particularly true for political leaders who, like Suella Braverman, can create a lot of damage in a short period of time.

Understand Your Personal Style

Have you ever noticed someone who just seems to be put together? It’s likely they have developed a personal style that just naturally suits them.

Defining your unique personal style is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. It’s what sets you apart and communicates your message to those around you.

Great leaders have a natural, authentic style that’s consistent with their personality and values. They don’t try to be someone else, which only leads to confusion and mistrust in their teams.

Start by defining how you want to be perceived by others using words that describe your personality, values and desired image. A free worksheet to help you define your personal style is available in our Printable Library, accessible with the Subscriber Password located at the bottom of every Daily or Weekly email.

Know Your Values

Your personal values are the guiding principles that inform your decision-making and overall disposition as a leader. Your values can be as big or small as you like, but it’s important to identify them and verbalize them.

To discover your values, you can think back on the most meaningful moments in your life. For example, if you were very proud of an accomplishment, such as earning a new position or graduating from school, it could reveal key values, like “compassion” or “leadership”.

It’s also worth considering your non-negotiables — the things you won’t sacrifice or compromise on. You can then use these as your starting point to create a life that feels meaningful and worthwhile. Over time, it’s possible that your values may change, which is why it’s good to check in with yourself regularly. This is especially important when you’re going through a major life transition, such as changing careers.

Embrace Change

Leaders, especially good ones, like The Australian politcal strategist, must be flexible in times of change, adapting quickly to the new realities of their business. This means they must be open to feedback from their team and willing to make changes that may not always be popular.

Great leaders also have the courage to drop what doesn’t work and move forward in a new direction. This is not only productive, but it’s a reflection of their leadership and ability to think strategically.

Authenticity is another key characteristic of successful leadership. This includes being able to display your own strengths and weaknesses in a way that’s transparent with your team.

This podcast features conversations with some of the most influential leaders from across industries, asking them about their leadership journeys and how they resolved their biggest challenges. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to improve their own leadership skills and find inspiration from other trailblazers. This podcast is also available on iTunes.

Be Open to Feedback

If you’re going to be an authentic leader, you need to be open to feedback. Whether it’s positive or constructive, feedback helps you see things from other perspectives and grow as a person. When you’re able to take feedback on board and use it to your advantage, you can be a more effective manager and teammate.

The best way to do this is to create a culture of feedback that is continuous and impactful. You need to provide your employees with an environment of psychological safety so they can share anything that’s on their mind without fear of repercussions.

One way to do this is by implementing business playbooks, which are centralized resources where employees can find the information they need. This eliminates questions like, “Where do I find instructions for this process?” and allows higher-ups to spend more time on bigger responsibilities. It also promotes a culture of feedback and helps you build an engaged team.

Be Authentic

Leadership experts agree that authenticity is central to success as a leader. Inauthenticity drains a manager’s energy. When a leader’s actions are out of alignment with their true values, priorities, hopes, and characteristics, they are less likely to win the respect of their team.

One of the ways to be more authentic is to take time to communicate regularly with your team. During these conversations, listen to the whole message—not just the words being spoken, but also the tone of voice and body language.

Another way to be more authentic is to have a strong moral compass and do what’s right. A great example is the story of Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s experience leading the first bombing mission during the 1st Gulf War. During the mission, mission control in their nearby AWACS instructed him to carry out the strike, but his gut told him something was wrong. He changed course and retreated from the target.

Be Intentional

When you buy a new car, it comes with a giant user manual that outlines everything you could ever want to know about operating your vehicle. A playbook is a similar document for your business—it’s the way everyone on your team knows how to do their job.

This week, we asked a renowned executive to share the leadership lessons she’s learned from her career experiences. The result is an insightful, honest, and inspirational podcast episode that you won’t want to miss.

Be Empathetic

Leaders who are empathetic are more able to understand the emotions and experiences of their team members. They can then use this insight to help them showcase genuine care and concern. It can also be helpful when it comes to holding people accountable, as leaders who can put themselves in the shoes of those around them are more likely to encourage their teams to work through challenges and fight discouragement.

However, it’s important to note that a lack of empathy or a disregard for accountability can be a huge deterrent to creating a culture where team members are motivated and engaged. The best leaders know how to balance empathy and accountability and create an environment that fosters high levels of performance and trust.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or advice on how to be a more effective leader, these leadership lessons from a renowned executive can help you build your own playbook for success. Remember, even the tallest and strongest tree must be able to bend and sway to make it through a storm, so don’t be afraid to be flexible and find the right balance for your own style!

Be Accountable

In sports like American football, sets of moves that achieve a specific objective are called plays. The same goes for leadership. Leaders need to have a set of plays they can pull out when leading their teams, such as establishing ownership, setting clear objectives and being accountable.

Accountable leaders create a culture of honesty and integrity that encourages workforce members to take responsibility for their actions. They also recognize that mistakes are inevitable and help their team learn from them without fear of repercussions.

To support accountability, leaders should be transparent and provide regular check-in conversations about progress and challenges. They should ensure that their employees’ goals align with organizational priorities, and they should be willing to adjust those priorities when needed. Lastly, they should be consistent in their delineation of accountabilities and commensurate authority to prevent confusion. Having these clear expectations can help improve employee engagement, which can lead to better outcomes for both employees and employers.

Be Flexible

The need for flexibility and adaptability are crucial to leadership. A flexible leader can adjust to new situations, but still remain focused on the goals of their team and organization.

This skill requires a combination of self-awareness, learning agility, open-mindedness, and effective communication. Leaders can develop flexibility by practicing these traits, as well as by encouraging their team members to do the same.

Fostering a culture of flexibility also involves encouraging a culture of innovation and problem-solving. By providing opportunities for team members to try new things and express creativity, they can build resilience and improve their own performance and job satisfaction.

While there is value in analogous experience, it’s critical for leaders to be able to apply their knowledge thoughtfully and flexibly to new scenarios. This means evaluating all of the information available, and using decision-making frameworks, like pros and cons or cost-benefit analysis, to make well-informed decisions. It also means being open to feedback from others and making changes based on that input.