There are so many books that tell us how to act and what to do to be successful at being leaders: The Servant shows us the wisdom of the principle behind leadership which is the interplay of responsibility, respect and care. Influencer teaches us that we can change virtually anything by bundling the right influence techniques with the right influence strategy. Gail Evans, in Play Like a Man, Win like a Women, says women need to understand and apply the rules of the men’s business game in order to get ahead. The Definitive Drucker teaches us how to strategize, compete and triumph over the long term. Made to Stick gives us many examples of how integrating six key qualities in an idea will make it stick. A Whole New Mind helps us see the “six essential aptitudes” as our way to manage the changes we are experiencing in the movement from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. This short list only scratches the surface.
All of these books are wonderful resources for us and offer great advice that can and do help us to be better leaders of ourselves and our organizations. Before we start using any of this advice in our lives as leaders, however, we need to be very clear about who we are and what talents and strengths we possess. If we bring less than who we are to our work, then using all of the advice above will still bring us up short of utilizing our full potential effectively.
When I ask leaders to describe themselves and tell me who they are, many say they know exactly who they are and what makes them tick.
They then describe themselves in terms of titles, successes, achievements, community service involvement, whether they are married or single, their number of kids, and their religion. These are not who you are but things you do or have done. They’re nice, neat labels. When was the last time you peeled back the labels and really thought about what you believe, what your values are, what your life priorities are, what your talents are and how you best use them? Have you ever spent time thinking about these things? Even if you have thought about them, have you ever written them down?
Dawn Rider-Carter, the Director of Sales for a recruiting company, said, “I have spent the last six months working on understanding where I can reduce the conflict and stress in my life. The light bulb moment for me was finding that both of these things escalated when I was not living with integrity with and for myself. Integrity used to be something that I didn’t think about often – it was more about winning or getting the job done at all costs. Now I know that this is a short term fix to the issue at hand but a long term energy drain for me.”
If you do not spend time peeling back your own labels and defining your values and talents and how to best use them, then you can not truly be a “transparent’ leader, and those around you will be less inclined to follow you with commitment.
I encourage you to spend the time to reflect and articulate those things that make up the “whole you” then bring it ALL to your leadership roles so you can truly do your BEST.
At Kinetic Insights, our PathFinders are skilled in helping leaders unleash the greatness in themselves and in their organizations. Call or email us for a quick discussion that just might put you and your team on the path to significant change.
Gail A. Froelicher is Founder, CEO and PathFinder of Kinetic Insights, LLC. For over 11 years, Gail and her team of PathFinders have journeyed with their customers to forge successful paths in rapidly changing business environments.