Managing ourselves as leaders

Leaders are never just a collection of skills and experiences. They are always much more than that.

There are many facets to the diamond of leadership. Some are more obvious than others…

We are employed (paid) to lead:

Of course there are things that we are expected to do, must do, should do. We are expected to deliver. And our reality is that we have commitments; to work, colleagues, family and finances. So we act, and behave, accordingly

The behaviours of an effective leader:

Peter Drucker sets these out well:

  1. Ask what needs to be done
  2. Ask what is right for the enterprise
  3. Develop action plans
  4. Take responsibility for decisions
  5. Take responsibility for communication
  6. Focus on opportunities rather than problems
  7. Run productive meetings
  8. Think and say “we” rather than “I”; listen first and speak last

How do you lead?

Using your intellect, obviously. And probably your market knowledge and experience. And, hopefully, your emotional intelligence; Daniel Goleman’s self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

And are you courageous enough to show up as imperfect? Do you show your vulnerability, and thus reveal your humanity to those you lead? Or are you still buttoned up behind your armour, protecting yourself from whatever is out there?

What makes you lead?

What’s it all about? What is your purpose as a leader, a team, a business? What is the purpose of your life? What are the unique talents that you bring which, when expressed in your own authentic way, serve others and leave you feeling passionate and fulfilled?

And what is your stake as a leader? Can you paint a clear picture in your head explaining why you lead, revealing your vision and determination, and your passion for achieving your goals?

How do you harness your inner resources?

How do you turn down the volume of your thinking mind, your intellect, in order to also access your instincts, intuition, inner strengths, your full capabilities and power?

Are you leading from powerful thoughts, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, values and purposes, bringing to bear that internal inner boardroom of strong personalities who all have different roles to play in your success?

Or do you pay attention to labels, judgements, limiting beliefs, justifications, excuses, past habits and the old stories that we tell ourselves again and again?

A bit of both probably. So, how important is it to grow your self awareness, recognise how you habitually operate and find ways of turning down the unhelpful voices and amplifying the ones that will help you to thrive?

How much of you do you bring to your role as a leader?

20%, 60%, 70%…..? What direction is your % moving in?

Are you all in, giving yourself full permission to bring everything you have to your role as a leader? Are you taking full responsibility for who you are, how you show up and what you do? Are you following your strongest urges, using your intellect to work out how to follow them, rather than dampening your enthusiasm and playing safe?

What is your history as a leader?

Forget your usual story, the one that includes a list of qualifications, roles and achievements. The real story is much more interesting. It includes the key moments, catalysts, choices, struggles, frustrations, conflicts, soul-searching, paradoxes, tensions, changes, evolution, growth. This is where the learning is.

What’s your story as a leader? And what do you learn from it?

Are your values showing you the way?

Values are like signposts (or GPS!), showing you the right way to reach your destination.

Some are embedded in the ground, those that you need to feel whole, safe and secure.

Others are in the air you breathe, they make you come alive, turn you on, leave you fizzing with energy.

The best leaders, those that truly inspire, act from their deepest values.

What nourishes you as a leader?

What are you doing to keep your batteries charged and your energy at its peak?

Physical energy – exercise, diet, sleep, health?

Emotional energy – recognising that you are at choice, considering perspectives, appreciating?

Mental energy -being organised, focused, switching off, meditation, yoga, exercise?

Spiritual energy – doing whatever it is that makes you feel absorbed, fulfilled, complete.

Leadership is a complex diamond. Quite often we find new facets, or neglect old ones. And there are always unseen facets, just out of our view. Regular maintenance, constant polishing and occasional close inspection seem to be the way forward.

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