So you want to be a leader, or you’re considering how to be a better leader?
Let’s clarify a few key points before you go haring off to apply for that next rung up the ladder or enroll in an expensive course that offers all the right leadership tips. The following is the world according to Sian. These are the key things I have learnt from my own professional experience and more recently my executive coaching. I have spent the past 40 years watching and learning from some great, and not so great leaders.
1: Leadership has nothing whatsoever to do with a title or a certain position. Having followers of any kind, especially ones that voted for you, doesn’t make you a leader either… just in case you were laboring under that misinterpretation
2: Using your authority, power and position as the main tools to lead others to get things done, will inevitably end with isolation and poor communication. That kind of leadership can best be described as bullying and intimidation.
3: To be a good or indeed a great leader, the first person you need to practice your leadership skills is on YOURSELF! We all want to follow people who have integrity and confidence. That confidence comes from knowing who you are as a person first, then you will find the leader you’re meant to be from within.
4: Learning to lead your own life with integrity is the defining factor that separates the wannabe’s from the good, and indeed the great leaders. Leadership is all about relationships, and we won’t trust anyone who cant trust himself or herself.
5: Leadership qualities come from within; they are the foundation of who you are. It’s your life purpose, core values, and a meaningful understanding of your life story and beliefs that create the foundations of those elusive leadership qualities. Lead your own life, know who “you” are first.
6: Authentic leaders inspire and motivate the people they lead to act and make good choices to achieve a shared vision. This is the confidence and wisdom to know what your role is as a leader. Only then can you support everyone else in understanding and delivering within their role.
7: You know when you’re leading with integrity. This happens when there is congruence between your skills, talents, and abilities, values and vision. Only then are you free to express yourself openly. That’s what authentic leaders look like. Those special humans, that quite literally have the leadership qualities that can change our personal or professional worlds.
How to start leading your own life...
By asking yourself what is likely to be the most challenging question you will ever answer.
“What is my life purpose, why do I exist and what can I achieve in my lifetime”
That question can be applied to every corner of your life, whether you are a CEO of a multinational, business owner, manager, parent or life partner ……you get the idea.
I have some workbooks that can kick-start the process and give you some structure and process to follow. But in all honesty, I need to you consider very carefully before you embark on this road of self-learning. Once started it can, and will if you’re brave enough, change the very core beliefs that you now have about who you are. Empowering, most definitely, but it comes with a caveat. It takes time, focus, and the ability to empathise.