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  • Writer's pictureDerek Rusher

CEO POV: Navigating Leadership with Purpose and Strategy

Welcome back to CEO POV, where we continue our journey through the dynamic landscape of leadership. In our last discussion, we explored the intricacies of time management – a crucial skill for any leader striving to make an impact in their respective fields. Leadership is probably the most talked about topic in the world. So why don't I give you my point of view? Today, we shift our focus from time management to another cornerstone of effective leadership: Strategy.


As a chamber president and CEO, the head of a non-profit organization, an elected official, and I can't forget, the CEO of my five daughters, I've come to appreciate the importance of having a clear vision and strategic approach to leadership. No matter what organization I am leading, even my five daughters, I try to be my authentic self. There are many great leaders out there that I try and learn from but I still have to be the leader that God created me to be. Drawing inspiration from my good friend Josh Erickson, CEO of Team Concepts, I want to delve into three leadership styles that have resonated with me: Visionary Leadership, Relational Leadership, and Supportive Leadership.


Visionary Leadership: Painting the Path Forward (see what I did there :))

At the heart of visionary leadership lies the ability to inspire and mobilize others towards a shared vision of the future. This is much more than a strategic plan in my opinion. As leaders, we must possess the foresight to anticipate trends, identify opportunities, and articulate a compelling vision that energizes and motivates our teams. Whether it's charting the course for the growth of our organizations or envisioning a brighter future for our communities, visionary leadership sets the stage for meaningful progress and transformation. I love to dream big and visualize what the organizations I am a part of could be like. Do you know a Visionary Leader?


Relational Leadership: Building Bridges, Not Walls

In today's interconnected world, the ability to build and nurture relationships is paramount to effective leadership. Relational leaders prioritize trust, empathy, and collaboration, recognizing that success is not achieved in isolation but through the collective efforts of a unified team. I'm guessing my teammates chuckled at that last sentence if they read that. This leadership style is difficult for me and I for sure lack empathy. I'm sure I'll write about that in a future post. Back to it though, by fostering a culture of open communication, mutual respect, and inclusivity, relational leaders cultivate environments where individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered to thrive. Do you know a Relational Leader?


Supportive Leadership: Empowering Others to Reach Their Full Potential

Supportive leadership is not about micromanagement or control; it's about empowering others to reach their full potential. As leaders, we must create environments where our team members feel empowered to take risks, make decisions, and grow both personally and professionally. By providing mentorship, coaching, and recognition, supportive leaders fuel a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and excellence. Those who know me know I am not a micromanager but I do have high standards and strive for perfection. This may seem unrealistic to some but why wouldn't you expect perfection? Do you know a Supportive Leader?


Applying Leadership Strategies in Practice

Understanding our leadership styles is only the first step; applying them effectively is where the real impact is made. Depending on what style you fall into, as leaders, we must tailor our approach to the unique needs and challenges of our roles, organizations, and teams. Visionary Leaders, for instance, sometimes move too fast for the team they are leading, and as you can imagine, the team becomes disengaged from that leader.


In reflecting on my leadership journey, I've committed to sharing both the triumphs and tribulations. When establishing Impact Art, I embraced my Visionary Leadership, combined with decisive execution to propel our mission forward. Yet, amidst the fervor, a misstep occurred that strained my relationship with my co-founder Josh Arias.

During the logo design phase, I prematurely assumed consensus and hurried forward, viewing it as a minor aspect of our nonprofit's formation. My fast pace and not looking in the rearview, left Josh feeling undervalued, ultimately leading to his disengagement from our shared vision of Impact Art.


It took a moment of realization, a figurative "punch in the mouth", to recognize my failure. Acknowledging the gravity of my oversight, I circled back to Josh and the logo deliberation. This pivotal moment illuminated the importance of valuing every team member's perspective.


Through genuine dialogue and collaboration, we refined not only the logo but reinvigorated Josh's commitment to Impact Art's broader mission. This setback served as an important reminder to temper my pace and prioritize all facets of leadership. And our logo is so much better!


Whether it's casting a bold vision for the future, fostering meaningful connections with stakeholders, or empowering our team members to succeed, the key lies in aligning our leadership strategies with our values, goals, and circumstances.


Conclusion: Leading with Purpose and Intention

I could go on and on about leadership but I feel this is a good stopping point. As we navigate the complexities of leadership, let us remember that our actions today shape the world of tomorrow. By embracing Visionary, Relational, and Supportive leadership strategies, we can inspire, empower, and drive positive change in our organizations, communities, and beyond. And remember, be you! One of my favorite quotes for any team comes from Bill Hybels, "Everyone wins when a leader gets better," so keep learning, keep improving, and keep getting better.


Join me next time as we explore another aspect of leadership, Creating a Positive Workplace Culture, through the lens of CEO POV. Until then, remember: true leadership is not about the title we hold but the impact we make on those we serve.


Thanks for reading.

Best,

Derek


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