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Meaningful Leadership

A new way to conceptualise leadership for the 21st century

What is Meaningful Leadership?

4Seeds focuses on building knowledge and resources that ensure Meaningful Leadership practices. Meaningful Leadership is a concept we have independently developed in an attempt to combine the varied leadership approaches that exist.

Providing a consolidated theory ensures that we deliver leadership development programmes which can assist with honing practical skills that ensure effective, empowered and impactful leaders in South Africa.

Meaningful Leadership is comprised of a combination of three of the predominant leadership approaches in current literature which are:

Authentic Leadership

 Being an Authentic Leader means being “real”. This is about acknowledging that you are a whole person and that regardless of the environment you have core values, beliefs and strengths that carry you forward.

Servant Leadership

The idea of Servant Leadership is a way of behaving rather than a leadership style or approach. It involves the leader being “servant first” rather than “leader first”.

Transformational Leadership

A Transformational Leader is one who “goes beyond exchange relationships, and motivates others to achieve more than they thought was possible”. (Arnold et al., 2007)

The 5 Attributes of an Authentic Leader

The authentic approach to leadership ensures value-congruent action, meaningful connection and real impact, which is why 4Seeds believes that Authentic Leadership is key to becoming a Meaningful Leader.

These five core attributes are:

Purpose

Authentic leaders know their purpose in life and from this comes the passion to drive committed action towards achieving it.     

Values

When one has awareness of their core values and strengths, they are better able to direct behaviours which are value congruent.   

Relationships

By creating a culture of open communication and personal connectedness, lasting relationships are built and team unity is ensured.

Self-Discipline

This is about knowing the goals and remaining perseverant and consistent despite challenges, admitting vulnerabilities and becoming role models.

Heart

Compassion, patience and connection are fundamental to creating a supportive and engaged team culture. Build positive relationships at work.          

 4Seeds likes to think of these five attributes as being the way you arrive at work. By bringing your passion, self-awareness and desire to build meaningful connections to the workplace, you are already on a great path to becoming a Meaningful Leader. However, once you arrive at work, and the chaos hits, there are characteristics you can employ which encourage organisational citizenship for both you and your staff. These characteristics are best explained through the Servant Leadership approach.

The Six Characteristics of a Servant Leader 

4Seeds believes that leaders are not the top the pyramid, but are rather doing the job on the ground in service of the greater organisation. This is why we have chosen to bring in the 10 characteristics of Servant Leadership. The idea of Servant Leadership is a way of behaving rather than a leadership style or approach. It involves the leader being “servant first” rather than “leader first”.

There are 10 key characteristics which ensure a “servant-first” approach:

Listening

Listening to respond instead of reacting. Hearing without interrupting, asking questions, and giving constructive feedback.

Empathy

Respecting another’s viewpoint, putting our own ideas aside in order to objectively respond to another’s thoughts, ideas and needs.

Healing

Taking care to provide the necessary resources to not only get the job done but to keep staff engaged and happy.

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a key component of being a leader. We cannot guide others towards their best without knowing ourselves first. 

Persuasion

Learning to use persuasion to reach a group consensus will ensure everyone is moving towards a shared vision.

Conceptualisation

Authentic leaders know their purpose in life and from this comes the passion to drive committed action towards achieving it.

Foresight

Being able to predict weaknesses or roadblocks is a vital part of ensuring that you can persevere and stay disciplined.

Stewardship

Align your actions with your values. Take responsibility for your roles and mistakes. Lead by example.

Commitment to Growth

Development and focus on the growth and learning of each individual as they contribute to the greater whole.

Building Community

This is all about creating a culture of collaboration and care. This will drive committed action and engagement.

As you can see, there are many parallels between Authentic Leadership and Servant Leadership, which is why we have chosen to combine them into a singular approach. Together, these attributes and characteristics can ensure that leaders are making meaningful steps and enhancing relationships that will result in profitable and impactful results.

The Four Behaviours of a Transformational Leader 

A Transformational Leader is one who “goes beyond exchange relationships and motivates others to achieve more than they thought was possible” (Arnold et al., 2007). This leadership approach was first introduced by James McGregor Burns in 1978 and has since gained a vast body of research. There are four behaviours which comprise a Transformational Leader which are:

Idealised Influence

“We do what we say.” Embodying the organisational values and taking value-aligned actions builds trust and unity with all stakeholders in the organisation.

Inspirational Motivation

Having a clear consolidated vision of where the company is going and  having defined high expectations of self and staff. This takes clear communication. 

Intellectual Stimulation

For staff to be engaged, there needs to be autonomy. When there is autonomy, staff are able to drive their own performance and are more likely to challenge the status quo.

Individual Conceptualisation

Each employee needs to be heard, coached towards their goals, and recognised for their individual achievements or order to feel that their work is meaningful.

Become a meaningful leader and

start your Positive leadership journey today! 

Join us for our upcoming Meaningful Leadership Development Programme.