The challenges we faced in 2020 and continue to face in 2021 has raised our appreciation of great leaders and what it takes to be one. Every role we take part in, whether it be personal or professional, has the ability to strengthen our leadership potential. And because of this, I often ask myself – how can I improve as a leader into a future that looks radically different?

With all the change in the past year alone, the best way I believe we can transform into great leaders starts with ourselves. Isn’t this great news? Knowing that the first and crucial step to becoming a better leader starts with you means that you are empowered. Everything you need, you already have. All you need is to uncover and cultivate key skills.  

As a global health and fitness leader and influencer for almost four decades, I have seen the world of health and fitness grow and evolve. I have also had the opportunity to witness the ripple effect that great leadership has within this industry. When it comes to leadership, there is no “one size fits all”. Great leaders have the ability to be more adept in navigating their way around and through change.  They seize opportunities in challenging times.  

Now, and for the future, it is more important than ever that leaders support their own well-being so that they are able to develop and inspire others. Currently, I have been practicing these principles which I consider to be critical components of great leadership.   

It starts by being decisive. A true leader is courageous in the face of change and adversity. They are unafraid to explore diverse perspectives, and opportunities to discover the potential in themselves and others. They can, with courage and awareness, balance emotion with reason, in order to make decisions that positively impact themselves, their employees, their members and stakeholders, and their organizations.

A future-ready leader must be self-aware. With honesty, they must evaluate their strengths and weakness and be open to receiving feedback. By truly knowing their values, personality, habits and emotions, and how these affect their actions and the actions of others, they’ll be better able to manage stress, and ultimately lead others to do the same.

Great leaders are committed. In the face of adversity, commitment is what keeps them going. These leaders must also evaluate the commitment to their purpose on an ongoing basis, which will keep them resilient and ready to press on despite challenges that arise. Nothing worthwhile can be achieved without commitment.

Show up authentically. Knowing your strengths as a leader and leveraging your unique talents and abilities will allow you to understand your leadership style so you can relate better with others and fill the knowledge, and skill gaps in your teams. There is enormous advantage in having diversity and recognizing the strengths your teams collectively possess.

Great leaders cultivate gratitude. Gratitude breeds engagement, fosters teamwork, and promotes empathy and compassion. Team members are no longer working just for themselves; they instead have a personal stake in the success of others and the team as a whole. Cultivating a daily practice of gratitude is a tell-tale sign of an effective leader. 

Great leaders embrace empathy. Having empathy allows leaders to support employees’ growth and build and develop relationships with those they lead. Without empathy, leaders will have a tough time building teams and nurturing a new generation of leaders.    

I am passionate about supporting women and on their journey to becoming future-ready leaders and influencers. This was the inspiration behind the event I created called Women Who Influence. The intention behind Women Who Influence, of women empowering women, is needed now more than ever so that future generations of young women leadHER’s can grow up appreciating the energy and strength that comes through community and collaboration. This year’s 7th Annual Women Who Influence event on Thursday August 12th is our moment to celebrate and embrace innovation and change.  Take your leadership to the next level and inspire others to rise with you. I invite you to learn more about Women Who Influence and register to join us at the event by visiting:  

By:  Mo Hagan