A+ leadership starts with following five C’s, according to Kristina Padilla, MA.
The director of business development and education for the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals on Saturday delivered an energetic breakout session for established and aspiring leaders attending the National Conference on Addiction Disorders East in Baltimore.
Padilla implored attendees to find purpose in their work, take care of themselves and to be lifelong learners, even after being promoted into leadership roles.
“We all need to grow,” Padilla said. “Just because you got promoted, that doesn’t mean you stop there.”
The bulk of Padilla’s presentation centered on 5 C’s of leadership:
Character. Ethical behavior speaks volumes, and trustworthy leaders produce sustainable results, Padilla said. People will follow individuals for a long time if trust is established. Conversely, Padilla said, team members won’t buy in if they don’t trust their leader.
Caring. “Do you care about your team?” Padilla asked attendees. “We might think we care, but do we show it?” Padilla shared the example of an aloof leader who breezed past employees without a greeting upon arriving. It sent a message to staff that the leader did not care, even if that was not the case. “It taught me what I did not want to be,” Padilla said.
Commitment. It’s critical for leaders to demonstrate commitment both to their team and their company, Padilla said. Sometimes, that means going the extra mile and doing what others won’t. Padilla also advised attendees to periodically review their organizations’ mission statements and ensure they were aligned accordingly in their thoughts and actions.
Confidence. Even if they have feelings of nervousness or uncertainty internally, leaders should project a sense of purpose, demonstrating that they know where they are going. It will instill confidence in the team and drive buy-in. One of the biggest keys to finding confidence is thorough preparation and knowing your stuff, Padilla said. “If you’re not prepared,” Padilla said, “that’s a bad look.”
Communication. Have a crystal clear, compelling vision, and communicate it repeatedly, Padilla said. Employees need to know where they stand and have multiple lines of communication. Just as important as it is for leaders to communicate their vision, they also must be exceptional listeners, welcoming the input of staff members. Also look to recognize and reward performance for a job well done. Even if handing out bonuses isn’t in the budget, certificates and simple recognition can boost morale, Padilla said.
That feedback can come in a variety of voices, Padilla said. Communicators can range from relaters who are compassionate and sympathetic to socializers who are animated and expressive, from thinkers who are technical and logical to directors who are bold and direct.
Padilla advises leaders to mix their communication styles, recognize others and adapt accordingly.
It’s also important to build a team that has members who agree with your opinions—and those who don’t. Being open to differing viewpoints can result in new understandings and growth as a team. Differing personalities also bring different skill sets and approaches, each of which are essential to organizational success, Padilla said.