How many books do you have on your shelves that offer the seven (sometimes secret) steps to success, fame and fortune?
When you went to College, did you carefully study the leaders in your field so that you could emulate what they had achieved?
It’s useful to explore what others have learnt, but no matter how you do it, the premise is the same; “if you mimic the gurus or just follow these simple steps you will get the success you are looking for”. A seductive proposition! Why re-invent the wheel when someone has done the hard work for you? In some fields this makes sense. When it comes to leadership there is something else to take into account – “You”.
It is a bit of a cliché to say “you are unique – there is no one else like you”, and yet it is true. No one else can engage with the world in quite the way that you do. The nature and nurture that have conspired to make you a leader is yours and yours alone. All you have to do is have the confidence to lead in your way. This means that you have to do the graft and consciously work it out for yourself.
To lead your way – you have to know what your way is. This means developing self-awareness and having a long hard look at yourself. Some questions you might ask:
- What do you believe in – and what do you really believe in
- What are you good at – no need to be modest
- What do you need to work on – be honest
- What do others say about you – think johari windows
- How committed are you – actions speak louder than words
In my world – when you are able to lead in line with your beliefs and feel able to let people see you as you are, then you are being authentic or real. Awareness (of self and others) and being real are at the heart of my thoughts on Conscious Leadership. Those who follow you may not like some aspects of the way you operate, but I suspect they will value and appreciate your authenticity far more. They will know where they stand with you and this will help you build trust and commitment.
Doing it your way is like moving a rolling stone. It takes a lot of energy to get the ball rolling initially (as it does to choose to lead authentically), but it has its own momentum when it gets going. Once you choose to lead your way – life becomes so much simpler. When problems arise, instead of second guessing what the “expert” would do, you can find your own answers in the confidence that they will work.
So please, buy the books and study them; it’s good to explore the work of others with an open mind. However, I urge you to be discerning; what seems so simple for the author may not work for you, –
– and if you must follow the Seven Steps – then at least do it your way!