Leadership requires both self-awareness and selflessness. Effective leaders know how to balance the purpose of their organization with their own self-interests.
Today’s post is by Jan Rutherford – author of The Littlest Green Beret. You can learn more about Jan at the end of this post.
The thing about leadership development is that it all starts with everyone’s favorite subject – themselves. Self awareness is the starting point for effective leadership, and it’s always interesting to watch my students obsess about survey results, feedback from peers, aptitude tests, and what it all means to their careers. The focus shouldn’t be on oneself, but on the leader’s effect on others. That is, our primary leadership tool is how we effectively communicate.
The variables are simply how well do we listen and how well do we speak to align expectations and achieve results? Ultimately, we control two things: where we spend our time, and how we respond to our environment. What priorities will best produce the results we’re after, and what attitude will we choose to deal with everyday ups and downs? After all, a leader’s environment is largely made up with a bevy of complex and unending interpersonal relationships.
Nick Petrie once published a brilliant white paper on “Future Trends in Leadership Development” where he discussed the transfer of greater developmental ownership to the individual. As a strong proponent of self-reliant leadership, I believe Petrie expertly articulated the need for developmental ownership to be squarely on the shoulders of the individual. Leadership can be an illusion of control, but changing your perspective on everyday experiences can provide inspirational learning opportunities for personal growth and development.
What questions should you routinely ask yourself? On a daily basis, what steps should you take to find personal success in your life’s work? Do you know your life’s work? Some say it’s the place where your passion and others’ needs intersect. I believe a key determinant of success is whether you can rely on yourself for self-coaching. However, self-reliant leadership is dependent on achieving a balance between independence and the interdependence of working with others to accelerate your own personal growth and development.
Self-reliance and leadership may seem to be contradictory notions, but there are three mutually supporting concepts: