“You cannot lead if you are not capable of leading yourself” I hear a mentor of mine arguing many years ago! It is something that accompanied me many times since and echoes my thoughts many times in various situations driving my thoughts as far as the leadership and personal development concerns! Personal leadership plays (and always had played) a large role in my life! Because there are things you can do and things you cannot “undone”! And that it is something should drive the activities of a leader all the times!
You Cannot Lead If You Do know Know How To Follow
Following is not a blind favoritism towards the position and ideas of a certain person! Is a critical approach aiming at benchmarking all the times the object of our trust and attention!
It is also a critical approach towards your position and approaches in life filtering withing the approach of a raw model encompassing all the features and approaches we want to encompass in our life!
Moreover is the acceptance of a certain viewpoint of the person we attend (his/her vision) which not only we encompassing it but we personified it in our daily activities and try to make it happen in the world!
You Can Only Lead Yourself?
The only person in the world you can actually lead, beyond any doubt is yourself. If you are lucky! For all the other people leadership is an impact, influence, or even a raw modeling and not leadership per se!
Self-leadership and self-discipline are the two of the most difficult postures and practices in life!
You cannot be a raw model if you do not believe in yourself by acquiring the confidence (and the maturity) comes along with the certainty provides by your strengths and weaknesses!
Strategy Above All?
Vision and self-discipline are not enough, though! You, as a leader, should take into account, a cluster of many things, in order to make a different in the world!
- Values and principles. First you need to start from yourself. Leadership depends both on internal (values, character, personality, growth mindset, vision, etc.) as external conditions (a problem, an idea, a cause, a change expecting to be made, a new wanted to born, etc.)! You cannot succeed anything in isolation! There is an evolving debate about the precedence of internal over external factors influencing the leader and leadership in general but the facts is that you have to have the whole “package”. You need both in sync in order to bring impact and influence and make a difference that would count in the world!
- Vision. To lead without a cause, direction and a vision are difficult. As have been told: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there“. This does not apply for a leader. A leader should always know what he/she wants and needs to be done! Especially in times of uncertainty! As in every strategy, the direction is given by your core values, the cause is your “why” of leadership while the vision is the new things expected to be happened. All these are basic components in the toolkit of every leader!
- Strategies & Tactics. The strategy is a huge chapter in modern literature and its relation to leadership is still the crux of much argumentation between the experts! Moreover, its relation to tactics is still a matter of many discussions! In any case, many experts agree that strategy has, or should have, 3 main components: the diagnose phase of the present situation, the definition of the guiding rules and the procedures for the implementation of the objectives and of the principles have been set!(Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt). It is essential for you as a leader to employ the best strategies and tactics available to your reach in order to bring the best possible results in relation to your goals and multiply your influence or your impact. Such strategies and tactics for a knowledgeable leader who wants to multiply his/her effect in society may be the:
- constant and consistent accountability and responsibility in thoughts, behaviors and actions
- entrepreneurship and trial-type mentality for testing what’s work and what’s not!
- attention to the details and to the weak links
- development of “gatekeeping-oriented” mechanisms and accumulation of trust for safeguarding the people may influence by his/her actions and influence them toward value-added activities for themselves and the society!
- focus on his/her vision and the activities it should be done in order the vision to become real!
- clarity in goals and SMART goals settings in personal and organization level
- momentum driving closer all the time towards your goals and objectives
- the intentional commitment of a leader for bringing the desired results
- win-win strategies (everybody wins, no one loose, and at the end of the day everyone sleeps without problems!)
- empowerment of the people influenced by his/her thoughts and actions
- consistent and constant provision of value to your network and to the people you are influencing!
- a better decision framework implementation (as the OODA loop is!)
- a flow of ideas and intuitive improvisation in various “difficult” or dubious situations
- implementation of result-driven and people-oriented organization schemes and workflows of work and action!
- constant strengths & weaknesses evaluation, not only to a personal level but to an organizational (in the broad sense) one
- productivity enhancers, the tips, the shortcuts hacks, the automation mechanisms, and the delegation schemes that a leader can (and should) employ that can bring balance between the personal, the business and the leadership level
- competencies and skills search, research, filtering, acquirement and usage in new fields and situations, especially in an e-learning and a learning enhanced environment
- Activities & Tasks. Action and especially everyday action should be aligned with your other leadership components (cores values, vision, etc. among other things) to permit to you a life-business optimum balance and leaving room to you for doing the things need to be done! To this end, many approaches, tools, and schemes can help you if filtered and evaluated against the disciplines described above!
- Everyday Life & Business. If everything fall in place (not as a domino raw falling tile after tile drawing schemes in space but as a well designed and implemented with fun puzzle or a quick solved Sudoku) your leadership discipline can be transformed to a value added generator able to provide value, influence and impact not only to you but to everyone around you!
This is about it! My personal leadership approach consists of many levels and layers of references, like building a Hanoi tower, tier-after-tier! It is formed after many error-and-trial sessions and filtered pure by my experience (painful most of the times) in order to structure a system of value not only for me but for many people as well!
What would you have to say? How would you like to contribute? You can comment, here!