Gladiator Level Leadership | by Mila Grigg



The Ukrainian President is living through an unreal test of character and strength. A lesson for anyone who wants to grow their leadership muscle...

Positional leadership is the lowest form of leadership. You have a title – but not much else. How do you grow from a positional only leader (People have to follow you because of your title), to someone who has influence and brand equity (People ‘want’ to follow you)?

1. Core Values: You must discern your values and breathe them into all you do. When the tough time comes, you will need to make the right decisions through your values filter. Doing what is RIGHT is often very hard. Your values remind you of who you are and give you confidence.

“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” -Volodymyr

He could have been evacuated as the war started. But he is staying to lead his country. He knows who he is, and he knows WHY he fights – leaders must have core values and know their WHY especially when they are tested. Core values are a set of 3-5 words that are the filter for every interaction a person has – tone of voice, body language, communication style, empathy – everything you do should go through a values filter to be your best in your worst moments.

Core values for individuals and companies are where both brand and leadership begin.

2. Emotional Intelligence: GROW THIS MUSCLE
Having a high level of EI is essential to leading. Reading a room, knowing how you feel, directing ‘how’ you speak and deliver a message. Leadership is authentic and often emotional.

From the Washington Post column:

"Then Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dialed into the meeting via teleconference with a bracing appeal that left some of the world-weary politicians with watery eyes. In just five minutes, Zelensky — speaking from the battlefield of Kyiv — pleaded with European leaders for an honest assessment of his country’s ambition to join the European Union and for genuine help in its fight with the Russian invaders. Ukraine needed its neighbors to step up with food, ammunition, fuel, sanctions, all of it.

“It was extremely, extremely emotional,” said a European official briefed on the call. “He was essentially saying, ‘Look, we are here dying for European ideals.’” Before ending the video call, Zelensky told the gathering matter-of-factly that it might be the last time they saw him alive, according to a senior European official who was present."

Just that quickly, Zelensky’s personal appeal overwhelmed the resistance from European leaders to imposing measures that could drive the Russian economy into a state of near collapse. Leadership means having control of your emotions in all situations, knowing how you feel, and being able to read others’ emotions. High-level leaders can use their emotions to deliver a message, show empathy, read individual or group emotions before speaking and continue growing the EI muscle.

3. Consistency
Never underestimate the power of consistency. Consistent behavior, body language, tone of voice and message. This is where core values come to play – when you aren’t ‘feeling’ your best, remembering who you are when you are at your best is crucial.

Anyone can have a moment of leadership. It takes a true leader to be consistent. How?

"I'm here. We won't lay down our arms. We will defend our state." -Volodymyr

Consistency breeds trust – people begin to understand they can follow you, believe you, be heard by you, be strengthened by your leadership. Inconsistency breeds weak leadership. I once met a man who was seen as a leader outside of his company, but people inside knew him well and saw how he treated everyone differently – often having fits of anger or arrogance. The truth travels fast, and his leadership influence crumbled.

If you do have a moment that shows anything but your best self – radical transparency, candor, and an explanation of ‘why’ is necessary. Apologies are often the best way back from a bad brand moment – ensure they are heart felt!

4. Leadership is influence
This one man is influencing the world to stand up for what is right and true. Now instead of fighting him, world leaders are supporting him. Top tier of leadership – influence. He is there.

Many people we coach believe they have influence, and they don’t. Ask yourself, who follows you because they WANT to? Before you speak, understand that you must build brand equity before people trust you. So many leaders are new to a company and come in with a title and shout orders – influence is built from relationship. Know your people, know their ‘why,’ and genuinely care about them.

  1. Leaders use social
    71 percent of consumers consider a company more trustworthy if its leadership team uses social media to openly communicate about its core mission, values, and purpose.

SEVENTY-ONE percent. Why?

If you aren’t using social – you’re personal and company brand is dying. How do you think people communicate these days? Look at the CEO of Tractor Supply or the CEO of Ulta – they not only use LinkedIn as a means of communicating personal brands, but they use it to communicate with their employees. They ENGAGE. If you are sitting behind a building and nobody sees you – your brand is losing value by the day.

We have had more requests for employee brand training on the topics below for 2022 than any other year and it is just February. COVID changed the rules - knowing how to share your story and the story of your teams is crucial. If you aren't building your brand, or giving your teams the knowledge and skills to build their own, it's going to a tough go.

MODA Image and Brand Consulting is the only company in the United States that is able to integrate corporate brand, personal brand, leadership, marketing, sales, social media strategy, image, internal and external communication, non-verbal communication, emotional intelligence, brand storytelling, the ‘why’ exercises, professional etiquette, executive presence and fashion into training seminars, keynotes and 1:1 executive coaching that benefit both the company and its employees.


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