The Sunday Mail
Women in Leadership Maggie Mzumara
Manifestos are not just for political parties and politicians — as a leader you could benefit from having your own personal manifesto, your blueprint to guide, direct and inform your actions.
It undergirds you and helps both anchor and launch you. Manifesto is derived from the Latin word manifestum, meaning “to be clear or to make public”. Whether you make it public or not, in your own seemingly ordinary life, is your choice.
Either way, every leader needs a personal manifesto, something that guides their views, their thoughts, and their beliefs and intentions. When you create your manifesto, you instil a sense of transparency that makes it easy for others to respect, emulate and trust you. Your values can help anchor your manifesto. Start there. Let your values steer you to embrace your greatness.
Below are recommendations adapted from leadership expert Lolly Daskal on manifestos. They have been customised to the writer’s specifications, you can make your own.
I stand in my truth, commit to being an authentic leader
It is always important to exude authenticity in your leadership. Do not be some copycat or pale shadow of someone else. When you commit to being genuine as a leader, you embrace all parts of who you are — the good, the bad, the weak, the strong, the gaps and the greatness.
You are committed to acknowledging and leveraging the sum of all your parts. If you can be genuine, you will win hearts and minds. Genuineness resonates with your followers. They know when you are being authentic and when you are not.
I take responsibility for my life, decisions, actions
The buck of what is humanly possible or earthly conceivable in your life should stop with you. Commit to being fully responsible for your actions and decisions, as well even as other things such as your health, happiness and success. Resist the urge to blame others or make excuses for your problems. Hold yourself fully and wholly accountable for whatever you do.
My mission is bigger than me
The greatest rewards come when you give off yourself. It is about bettering the lives of others, being part of something bigger than yourself, and making a positive difference. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel that they are doing something for the greater good.
I communicate truthfully
The words you speak and the way you communicate will always matter. Each time you say something it provides a reflection of who you are, what you think and what you value. Make sure always that your heart and mind are in tandem and saying the same thing.
I take ownership of my work, strive to make things better within my sphere of influence
Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility and own it before they place blame. The best leaders serve humanity in a way that lifts everyone around them. Accountability is the measure of a leader’s height.
I demonstrate resilience, face up to challenges
Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it is less than the one you had before.
Learn not to reject failure as fatal but instead to face everything with boldness and courage. When you do, you will gain the perspective that nothing is off limits and that every opportunity is a platform for future success experiences, because only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.
I invest in myself as I invest in others
As a leader invest in yourself as a person. To use yourself completely — all your skills, strengths, gifts and talents — in order to make your vision manifest. You must never hold back.
You, must, in sum, become the person you are meant to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming. The true great leaders are constantly making ongoing commitment with themselves to invest in their own growth as a leader, but that is not all. Leaders should also make it a point to invest in the growth and development of those around them.
I change what I can, accept what I cannot
You may not always be able to change or choose your situation, but you will always be able to choose who you are going to be in the situation. Choose the character and the values that lead you to embrace your greatness. What you cannot change, learn to live with.
I dedicate myself to my calling, life’s purpose
Leaders are not only born but also made and they are made just like anything else, through hard work. That is the price we will have to pay to achieve greatness, because not everyone lives up to their calling.
But if you know what is important to you, and if you know that what you do matters, you will put your best into what you do and how you do it. To live up to your calling is to tap into your greatness and embrace it.
To help you craft your own manifesto, here are some questions to ask yourself and get going on the task: Why should anyone follow? What do you have to offer? How does your vision or purpose connect with that of your team, department or organisation? What do you stand for as a leader? What is your purpose or calling in life and how does that feature in this particular position? How do they blend or play out?
◆ Maggie Mzumara is a leadership, communication and media strategist as well as corporate trainer, who offers group trainings as well as one-on-one coaching in various areas of expertise. She advocates women leadership and is founder of Success in Stilettos (SiS) Seminar Series, a leadership development platform for women. Contact her on [email protected] or follow on Twitter @magsmzumara