A leader’s journey to empower others by Roshanda Pratt
Your silence is not golden, especially if you are a kingdom-driven leader. As a video visibility coach and producer, my passion lies in empowering speakers, coaches and consultants to build a visible brand with video. I believe visibility is the key to unlocking our potential, both as individuals and as leaders.
Start with Why
But where do you start? It begins with you. In becoming a visible leader, one should start with their why statement and create a personal brand. Your why is the North Star that directs everything you do. Your personal brand is what you say about yourself based on your experience, expertise, core values and key differentiators. While there are many outcomes from building a personal brand as a leader, the most impactful is that your personal brand builds trust, and that leads to influence.
How do you gauge your influence? Start with curiosity. After defining a clear why statement and creating a personal brand that aligns with your values, begin to communicate it to those around you. By communicating this vision passionately and consistently, it inspires others to join you on the journey to making a meaningful impact. As a rising high school sophomore, my daughter is currently working on building her personal brand and why. I encouraged her to ask her friends to describe her in one word. She told me most of the words shared are the ones she would use to describe herself.
When was the last time you polled your audience or asked those close to you to describe you as a leader? In Matthew 16:13 (NIV), Jesus asked a question. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Jesus was doing an audit of His brand from both outside and inside, with those that walk closely with Him. We also see from Jesus’s leadership that as He grew in stature so did those closely connected to Him as well. When we cultivate a brand and have a why statement, it holds us accountable to our purpose. When there are opportunities to shrink back, it is important to remember your why statement. When there are times to compromise, you remember your core values through your personal brand.
Embrace Courageous Communication
Leaders create an environment that encourages and empowers others to find their voice. I started my television news career while I was a college student. I was a young producer learning the ropes. During my four years at that particular station, everything seemed to go wrong in the world; 9-11, The War on Terror, political scandals and hurricanes. My boss at the time had great confidence that this young college student could do the work. He had me learn how to produce every show at the television station.
One night, I was scheduled to produce the big show, the 11 p.m. news. Nervousness doesn’t adequately describe my feelings. The late evening news is traditionally a major news show with the station’s main anchors. He called me in his office before the show and asked how I was feeling. I was so nervous and I think he could tell. He gave me permission to feel the butterflies, in fact he told me to go to the bathroom and get it all out. He said: “Cry, throw water on your face, but when you walk out of that bathroom know YOU ARE THE PRODUCER and they will FOLLOW YOU.” My boss was right. I was at the helm of the show that night and my anchors, directors and floor crew followed my lead. I found my voice as a lead producer that night and every day going forward.
A few years later when I needed to advocate for myself as a Christian in that newsroom, I had enough courage to do so. Courage is something you practice daily. By consistently speaking up and sharing ideas, vulnerabilities and experiences, I lead by example and demonstrate that courage is essential for growth. This creates a safe and supportive space where others feel inspired and motivated to speak up as well. If we truly desire greater impact, we must give others permission to speak up when the enemy would want to silence us. We have a real enemy and it is not the person you see every day. We are in a spiritual battle. The Word of God reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 (KJV), “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We are in a spiritual battle that would take great joy in our staying silent. But we must cry aloud and spare not (see Isaiah 58:1).
Create Safe Spaces
Courage can only happen in safe spaces. To foster courage, it’s crucial to actively listen to the perspectives and concerns of others. I think we must make a conscious effort to create a judgment-free zone where individuals feel heard and understood. By showing empathy and validating their thoughts and feelings, we let people know they are seen and heard. Psychiatrist William Glasser states in Choice Theory, “Humans are motivated by a never-ending quest to satisfy 5 basic needs which are woven into our genes; to love and belong, to be powerful, free, to have fun and survive.” Whether you agree or not, everyone desires a sense of belonging. We communicate this sense of belonging through our ideas, work and connections. When we listen to others and provide support and feedback, we are meeting a deep need in the other person. We are also helping that individual develop their speaking skills and overcome any fears or insecurities they may have.
Build a Team
No one is a lone island by themselves. We are inherently social beings, and our ability to collaborate and work together is essential for achieving significant impact. As the saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” In fact, if what you are doing does not require the involvement of others, then it may not be as significant as you think.
Leaders understand the power of collaboration and actively seek opportunities to build networks and partnerships with like-minded individuals, industry experts and influencers. They recognize that by leveraging collective knowledge and resources, they can amplify their impact and reach a wider audience. Jesus understood the importance of collaboration and partnership—He chose to “employ” 12 disciples to help spread the message of the gospel. He knew that the task was too immense to carry alone.
As a kingdom leader, it is crucial to recognize that what you create needs the support of others and must extend beyond yourself. By involving others in your vision and mission, you not only benefit from their unique perspectives and expertise, but also create a sense of shared ownership and commitment. Together, you can accomplish far more than any individual could achieve alone.
Seek out opportunities to collaborate with individuals who share your passion and values. Build strong relationships, foster a spirit of teamwork and create a culture that encourages collaboration and innovation. Recognize that by embracing collective efforts, you can make a greater impact on the world around you.
Develop a Growth Mindset
How is your mindset? As leaders, it is vital to examine and renew our minds continually. In Romans 12:2 we are encouraged to transform our thinking. To avoid being confined in a limited box and to expand our influence, developing a growth mindset becomes paramount.
A growth mindset is rooted in the belief that abilities and intelligence can be cultivated through dedication and hard work. Embrace the idea that you and your team members have the capacity to learn, grow and improve in any area. This mindset empowers you to face challenges head-on and view failures as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.
To nurture a growth mindset, actively seek opportunities for personal and professional development. Engage in continuous learning by reading books, attending workshops and conferences or seeking mentorship. Encourage your team members to do the same, emphasizing the value of ongoing education and the pursuit of knowledge.
As an avid reader, I recognize the transformative power of books. Reading broadens our perspectives, exposes us to new ideas and equips us with valuable insights. By encouraging your team to become readers, you foster a culture of learning and continuous improvement. Remember, readers are not only learners but also earners. The knowledge gained can be applied to drive success in various areas of life.
Incorporate regular learning and growth discussions into team meetings or one-on-one sessions. Celebrate the efforts and progress made, highlight the lessons learned from failures and the resilience demonstrated in the face of adversity. By instilling a growth mindset within your team, you create an environment that encourages innovation, fosters creativity and fuels personal and collective growth.
Cultivate a passion for learning, encourage continuous personal and professional development and inspire your team members to adopt a growth mindset. By doing so, you set the stage for ongoing success, both individually and collectively, as you navigate the ever-evolving challenges of leadership.
As a leader seeking greater influence, you must be willing to invest intentional effort. Cultivating greater influence doesn’t just happen. It is an intention, an awareness to unlock your full potential and leave a lasting impact on those around you. Expanding your awareness allows you to understand the needs and aspirations of those you lead, paving the way for meaningful connections and effective decision-making. By consciously expanding your sphere of influence, you can inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect of positive change.
In an adverse society, your influence has the potential to shine brighter. Stand out from the crowd, stay strong in your convictions and represent the greater kingdom with unwavering integrity. Lead with purpose, knowing that your actions have the power to shape a better future.
Together, let us embrace visibility and ensure that every voice is heard and valued. Let us empower others to step into their own leadership potential, fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. By uniting in our commitment to positive change, we can create a world where everyone thrives and contributes to a brighter tomorrow.
Step forward as a leader, embrace the challenge and make a difference. Your influence matters, and by cultivating greater influence, you can become a catalyst for transformation, both within yourself and in the world around you.