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Mental Fitness

How to Improve Your Leadership Skills: Use 4 Pillars to Inspire Others into Effective Action

graphic showing a team of people with text that reads how to improve your leadership skills

Published July 19, 2023
by Positive Intelligence

Effective leadership is not just about skill sets. You must improve your mindset and emotional intelligence to improve your leadership skills.

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or aspiring to become one, you must recognize that your Saboteurs (negative thought patterns) get in the way of you being an extraordinary leader. Then you must learn to use your Sage powers (your positive self) to become more impactful.

What is effective leadership?

“Leaders inspire others into effective action to achieve shared goals,” says Shirzad Chamine, founder and CEO of Positive Intelligence®.

Using authority to be a leader is not inspiring action. Instead, powerful leadership does not use authority; it uses influence.

Every Saboteur limits your leadership abilities, and every Sage Power increases your ability to influence and lead. Thus, it is critical to understand how to identify and silence your Saboteurs and how to tap into your Sage Powers to lead effectively.

What are Saboteurs?

In the Positive Intelligence (PQ) Program, Saboteurs are described as the voices in your head that generate stress and negative emotions. They negatively impact the way you handle work and life’s challenges. They sabotage your potential for happiness, and they decrease your performance.

What are Sage Powers?

Sage Powers are your positive self. Your Sage perspective sees that you can convert every problem or challenge into a gift and opportunity. The five Sage Powers — Empathize, Explore, Innovate, Navigate, and Activate — help you handle life’s challenges with a more positive mindset. Mental fitness is the ability to quiet your Saboteurs and tap into your Sage Powers.

It is impossible to fully engage your Sage Powers without first intercepting your Saboteurs, starting with the Judge, the master Saboteur. The Judge is the universal Saboteur that afflicts everyone. It is the one that beats you up repeatedly over mistakes or shortcomings, warns you obsessively about future risks, and wakes you up in the middle of the night worrying. It also gets you to fixate on what is wrong with others, yourself, or your circumstances.

The four pillars of being extraordinary and impactful as a leader

Four pillars enable you to lead your team to maximal team performance and wellbeing: Triple Purpose, Earned Trust, Healthy Conflict, and Mutual Accountability. As a leader, you must understand why the four pillars are so critical and then integrate them into your leadership approach.

Triple Purpose

“Why is it so critical to have purpose in inspiring action? You’re making a contribution to others, each other, and yourself,” says Chamine. 

Triple Purpose means you’re inspired to grow in meaningful and lasting ways, to help your team do the same, and to impact others positively. There are three levels of Triple Purpose:

  • Positive impact on others
  • Positive impact on each other (team members)
  • Positive impact on self

The Sage Power Navigate helps integrate Triple Purpose into your leadership approach. Navigate involves asking yourself what’s truly important and not as important as it seems. Using Navitage will help you tap into the inspiring aspects of Triple Purpose to improve your leadership skills.

Earned Trust

“If you want to deepen trust in any relationship, you need to be vulnerable,” says Chamine.

Influential leaders view vulnerability as a sign of strength, not weakness, and this means leaders must not be ashamed to admit their human imperfections. Earned Trust creates a safe environment for leaders and employees to be transparent, be authentic, and admit mistakes.

The Sage Power Empathize is vital in fostering Earned Trust because it promotes a caring culture where people appreciate each other as human beings and feel safe to be vulnerable and authentic.

Healthy Conflict

“Unless we have invested in Earned Trust, we are not willing to have Healthy Conflict with each other,” says Chamine.

With the pillar of Healthy Conflict firmly in place, you can embrace conflict as a gift, and your team members can learn to challenge each other. Health Conflict is an effective way to arrive at the best solutions and help team members grow.

The Sage Power Empathize is essential for supporting the pillar of Healthy Conflict. Empathize allows you to put yourself in the shoes of others so you know where they’re coming from. Explore allows you to understand the aspirations of others, while Innovate will enable you to come up with solutions for a win-win situation.

Mutual Accountability

“If I’m holding you accountable, I am giving you a huge gift that could potentially change your life,” says Chamine.

As a leader, you must create an environment and culture where people value and practice Mutual Accountability. Mutual Accountability means team members hold each other accountable for results and conduct instead of waiting for the team leader to do so.

The Sage Power Activate helps foster Mutual Accountability among teams. Activate enables the discerning, direct, and challenging conversations critical for Mutual Accountability.

Elevate your organization’s EQ to improve leadership skills

Positive Intelligence represents a breakthrough in your ability to raise Emotional Intelligence (EQ) across your organization. Positive Intelligence’s factor analysis research identified the root-level building blocks of EQ — 17 out of 18 EQ competencies are automatically developed through the PQ Program.

The resulting EQ improvements are sustainable because of the PQ Program’s focus on building habit-forming mental muscles, not just insights.

Survey results from a cohort of more than 2,000 PQ Program participants after six weeks of mental fitness training show that 98% of participants experience EQ growth. Participants report improvements in each of the following categories:

  • 90% use mental/emotional energy more effectively
  • 92% are better at teamwork and collaboration
  • 85% increase their happiness
  • 91% manage stress better
  • 83% improve their self-confidence
  • 84% are better at conflict management

Enhance leadership skills with mental fitness training

Positive Intelligence offers a transformative approach to leadership development, enabling leaders to cultivate self-awareness, resilience, empathy, and a positive mindset. By embracing mental fitness practices, you can unlock your full leadership potential. Remember, leadership is not just about achieving results; it’s about inspiring and empowering others to thrive and succeed.

To get started on improving your leadership skills, take the Saboteur Assessment to identify the Saboteurs that are holding you back.

Then, learn more about how the PQ Program for mental fitness can help you and your team boost productivity and improve wellness at work.

Discover Your Saboteurs

The first step to conquering your Saboteurs is to identify them and expose their lies and limiting beliefs.

Saboteur Assessment
Saboteur Intro

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