12 Most Unexamined Sources That Influence Your Leadership
Leadership is intangible. You can’t physically touch it. You feel it when you experience good or bad leadership. You see actions stemming from a leader’s beliefs and activities.
Your leadership is shaped by the external world. However, THE source of leadership comes from within. The leaders who leave us touched, moved, and inspired constantly examine their internal sources of leadership.
Socrates once proclaimed, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” As a leader you must constantly weed out beliefs and activities that interfere with creating relationships and context that help people contribute their best.
The sources of your leaders must not go unexamined. These are 12 sources worth examining.
1. View of people
Do people need to be controlled? Will people do the right thing most of the time? The conclusions you’ve made about people will shape how you view them and their actions. It’s perhaps the trickiest driver in this list. Why? It’s hard to examine our beliefs. We accept the conclusions we make to be true. It’s how we make sense of the world. We make false conclusions all the time, though.
2. Your trust in people
Trust is central to leadership. Some of us give trust immediately. And only when it’s broken do we stop trusting the person. Some believe trust must be earned. Some never trust. How you trust people will either limit your leadership or help your leadership be limitless.
3. Ability to connect people
Can you connect people to do great work together? Do you see connections between people’s talents? This driver believes that we work best together. You can accelerate passions, success, results when you know people’s talents and what’s going on around you. This is what helps you to connect people.
4. How you unplug
Leadership is a selfless act characterized by giving. It’s crucial that you know how to unplug to recharge. You need to be driven to keep your internal state rested so you can be available to people.
5. You don’t look away
Are you driven to confront injustice? Do you deal with saboteurs of team performance? Do you confront yourself? Leaders who leave us touched, moved, and inspired don’t look away from problems that dismantle individual and team performance; they step up and take on such problems, bruises and all.
6. You can name and explain your personal values
In these hyper-connected times, we hear and read endless stories of leaders who made unethical and/or illegal choices. Identifying your values isn’t a nice exercise. It’s a requirement. Leaders driven by their personal values can lead in an unending range of grey areas. Naming and explaining your values gives you an anchor to lead in the grey.
What’s your commitment to your role as a manager? To your role as a leader? To your employees? To your development? Is the commitment commiserate with passion or does it yield mediocrity?
8. Want your/their life to count for something
Is life something to get through? Or is life something you get to define? How you view your purpose in life carries over into your leadership of people. And your leadership can make work meaningful for others. You get to choose.
9. Integrated life
Work/life balance is bunk. The notion of balance sets us up to pursue something not possible in our 24-hour world. Instead I advocate an integrated life that weaves together the many roles you hold in life. These roles are nurtured when needed. They are not pulled apart as equal parts forcing us to find ways to balance them.
10. Ability to make amends
Be the leader who is willing to admit to mistakes or being wrong. We all make bad decisions or use poor judgment. When you can make amends for your mistakes you are more relateable. You become less a box on an organizational chart.
11. Adaptability agility
Adapting to quickly evolving realities helps you lead your team through changes. Examine how you respond to change and what you need to move from denial to acceptance. A leader who is stuck in the past weakens others, the team, and herself.
12. Where you place your “wants”
Is what’s necessary for the team a higher priority over your wants? Leading people to achieve what’s best for the team and ultimately the organization is sustainable. Pursuing personal “wants” that don’t align with needs causes breakdowns in relationships, effectiveness, creativity.
It’s no coincidence the first three items are about other people. Leadership, when it works for the good of the whole, is selfless. Such leadership is sourced from within each of us willing to examine and reexamine who we are and what we believe. Leadership is a serious calling we all get throughout life. It’s how we respond to the calling that matters.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nmmacedo/5259488716/ via Creative Commons.