L = Leader-self

‘Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.’  Jack Welch

The last letter, L, in IMPACTFUL leadership stands for Leader-self.  Leader-self is all about personal self awareness because a leader cannot lead others until they can lead themself.

Leadership is that elusive quality that companies are looking for and yet, in my opinion, is so often lacking in organisations.

To my mind you cannot learn leadership because leadership is learning; however what we can do is enable leaders. We can enable leaders to learn about themselves. I am continually reminded of the words of John C. Maxwell who says that ‘leadership is the ability to influence others’ and for me, this is so true. You simply cannot motivate others – people or horses – through force but rather you need to influence others and empower them to work alongside you in a partnership that is mutually beneficial to all parties.

There is one person, however, who is typically the most difficult person to lead and this is ourselves. This sentiment was summed up so well by international leadership speaker Mark Fritz at The Academy of Chief Executives Mastermind Group which I was attending when he said, “The hardest person to lead is yourself.” This is why I strongly believe you cannot learn leadership because it is not a theory or talent, it is about a way of being. To me leadership starts with self – leaderself. It is about understanding yourself and once you know and understand yourself then you can lead and influence others.

Linacre and Cann in An Introduction to 3-Dimensional Leadership define leadership as a state of being that involves all aspects of the human being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Furthermore they go on to explain that ‘leaders do, and enable other people to do, things that they have never done before in circumstances that have never previously existed.

In other words, leaders act, and ACT stands for Awareness, Connection and Transformation.’ Leaders are aware and connected to themselves and to those they lead and the situation they find themselves in. The quality and awareness and the connection determines the level of transformation that can occur.

No one can dispute that we are living in unprecedented times. Never before have we experienced the current economic conditions following the financial crisis. We have no frame of reference with which we can benchmark and assess the future. Even the Governor of the Bank of England has openly stated that he has no idea what the situation will look like tomorrow, let alone next month or next year. There is a high level of uncertainty in our world today and that is making people scared. The culture of self-preservation in organisations has increased dramatically as people live in fear for their jobs and their economic security. Furthermore, following the spate of redundancies that occurred, many organisations are dysfunctional. They have people in roles that they are illequipped
to fulfil and downsizing has meant new teams being formed with the express aim of achieving more with fewer resources.  No wonder then, that this is perhaps one of the most challenging times we have ever seen for leaders of organisations. The pressure to deliver increased financial performance is significant, and aligning that with seeking to inspire a diverse group of people, each with
their own agenda, we can clearly see that leadership today is not for the faint-hearted.

Extract from Unbridled Success – How The Secret Lives of Horses Can Impact Your Leadership, Teamwork and Communication Skills.  You can purchase the book here from Amazon

On January 23rd, 2013, posted in: Leadership by

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