Leadership is idiosyncratic; no two leaders are exactly the same, and nor should they be.
When we teach people a series of leadership skills and techniques and ask them to get on with it, it’s really down to luck as to whether it’s a happy match or not. If we want to develop exceptional, authentic leaders, we must first connect them with what they have to bring to the leadership space.
To do this requires a three-pronged approach:
Deep self-knowledge allows us to show up and lead from an authentic place. It is the process of understanding ourselves deeply. To know what strengthens us, where our purpose lies and what our values system is. To be familiar with our thinking and behavioural patterns and the impact they have. The odd psychometric test and team building day doesn’t begin to cover it.
There are some core skills, essential to everyone, that make a game-changing difference to the results we achieve. They are not tips and techniques – they are fundamental skills that are core to how we relate to ourselves and others. They govern how we build trust-based relationships, create teams, have authentic presence, master dialogue and stay well. It is this expertise that enables us to bring our full authentic selves to the leadership space.
A practice of self-mastery means recognising that we are wholly responsible for how we show up in the world. It is a commitment to lifelong learning with the understanding that there is always room for growth. Without this pivotal practice, all development risks being transitory, and the only direction we’ll ever be going is backwards.
Whether we are leading ourselves, a global corporation or a movement to create meaningful social change, these three principles are the foundation from which we can grow to be our full authentic selves.
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