I found myself reflecting on leadership as I interacted with and watched my 18 month-old granddaughter play so lovingly with her babies. At only 18 months where did she learn to be so loving and tender to her baby dolls? Where did she learn to stand her ground while I was trying to influence her?
And so I wonder – how much of our core is innate? How is our character development influenced and who does the influencing? We are all hard-wired with a set of gifts and talents that develop into our strengths when exercised or acted upon. There is depth to our capacity that flourishes when we are in a positive environment where our strengths are encouraged and celebrated. We can get the most out of our capabilities by pausing, reflecting and gaining insight on maximizing our potential.
This is part 5 in the 5-part series on Leadership Purpose by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.The most important is that we reflect on who we are as a leader and how we want to lead. Click To Tweet
In the bestselling book, Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?,authors Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones identify three fundamental axioms about leadership…
What is required of leaders will always be influenced by the situation. An effective leader observes and understands existing situations, a skill called situation sensing. Great leaders excel at this. They’re in tune to what’s going on beneath the surface, adapting and selecting their skills to form the most effective response. At times, they may choose to conform. In other situations, they’re unafraid to risk being different. They deploy their best personal assets according to context. Not only do they reframe situations, they influence and reshape the situation to benefit the organization and the people they lead.
Authority alone is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for exercising leadership and driving performance. Effective leaders exist at all levels, and successful organizations seek to build leadership capability widely.
Leadership is always a social construct created by relationships. You cannot lead without followers. Followers, in turn, want their leaders to express feelings of excitement through a vision, meaning, and personal significance – they want to be part of something bigger. That’s why we seek authenticity from our leaders. We need to be able to trust.
Questions Regarding Your Leadership
Developing as a leader isn’t necessarily easy. There are no secret recipes or right (or best) ways to lead and each of us are wired differently with different sets of strengths and weaknesses. Although there are many leadership books, theories and volumes of material on leadership, the most important thing is that we reflect on who we are as a leader and how we want to lead. It’s crucial that we practice confident vulnerability to attain interdependence between our team and us and among our team members. We need to demonstrate the confidence to share where our strengths lie, what we are good at, where we are vulnerable and where we need assistance.
You may be served by taking the time to reflect on the following questions – some of which are from Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?…
- Which personal values and vision do you hold for those you aspire to lead?
- Where are you strong and how do these strengths form the basis of your leadership capability?
- How do you get the needs of your strengths met?
- Which personal weaknesses do you reveal to those you lead?
- Which of your strengths do you use to you develop authentic relationships with those you lead?
- How well are you able to read different contexts?
- When influencing others, do you conform enough or too much?
- When influencing others, do you differentiate yourself enough?
- Do you know when to hold back or manage your strengths and when to connect with others on common ground?
- How well do you manage social distance?
- How well do you express tough empathy, offering people what they need rather than what they want?
- How well do you communicate your personal differences, your strengths, your weaknesses, your values, and vision?
- Do you consistently express authenticity across different roles, situations, and audiences?
In your own quest for leadership purpose, what are you discovering about yourself? Through reflecting on these questions, about what did you become clearer? I would love to hear about your experience with leading and what is working for you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.