Daily you are leading others. You guide them and hope that they will continue to improve, produce, stick around, and create the results that you have asked for. Are you providing the same sort of TLC to your own leadership skills, behaviors and attributes? Likely, the answer is no, but perhaps you do. That would mean you work on it, practice new techniques, always put the needs of those you work with as a priority, and spend dedicated time being an even more effective leader. Well, okay, if you don’t do all of that, let’s begin with the basics.
Number one, your corporate wellness, meaning the wellness of your very own business, division, or team and its ability to perform well into the future, depends largely on how well you lead now and in the future. Number two, your ability to lead begins with you. How well are you leading you and is it in alignment with how you lead others? Let’s explore that whole concept of leading others as well as you lead you.
There is a direct correlation between how well you lead you and how well you lead others. In other words, much like you might try to set a good example for your children by being a good parent who does as you ask them to do, you also have to set an example for yourself when leading you. Meaning, are you setting a good example by keeping your own commitments to yourself; doing what you say you will no longer do; finishing your “messes and incompletes”; keeping your word, and staying in integrity with what you know to be the right thing to do? These are all part of leading you and they will then translate into how well you are able to lead others. Those parts, if we put them into more broad categories, are what we call Being You, Leading You, and Leading Others. If we were to break those down, it might look something like this:
When you are trying to be your most adored College Professor or Mentor, you are not being you. You might be doing a wonderful job of being someone else, but it’s still not you. However, in order to be you, to share that pure authenticity, you must first know who that is and what he or she looks like. Do you? With authenticity and the ability to be just you, comes a feeling of calm about your actions and behaviors. That is also accompanied by a sense of confidence (not cockiness!) and a comfort in your own skin. If you feel those things, then you are likely being authentic, or being you. If you consistently question what you are doing and feel a bit lost, then this is an area of focus. If you are consistently edgy or find yourself reacting instead of responding, then it is quite possible that whoever you are “playing on TV”, as we used to say, is rather far from the real you. That kind of disconnect can cause some real communication problems and can be rather easily resolved with a bit of awareness about who you are and the permission, from yourself, to be just that.
When others say “lead by example”, the clich?? exists for a reason. People who work with you watch how you lead you to determine if what you are telling them to do has any credibility. This is why the “do as I say, not as I do” rule is so laughable, yet true. When you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, your actions will match your words. There is a profile tool that we use in our office called CORE?? and it shows us when a client sees themselves one way and then acts in quite another. This tool also is the foundation for helping others learn how to resolve that disconnect, but it does not take a genius to see it in someone. Those you work with pay attention. If you are the boss who instructs everyone else to remember the customers’ names and treat them with exceptional courtesy, then you must act that way, as well. If you are same boss who snaps at an assistant when they are not on time or an employee has done something wrong, then you are not leading you and your actions well. Internal customers deserve the same courtesy as external ones, by the way. Leading you comes from practice, focus, discipline, development, concern for the needs of others, and a distinct desire for consistency in your words and actions. Take a close look at your actions. Even ask for an outside objective opinion on how you behave or ask for someone to gently remind you when you behave outside of what you would prefer in order to maintain consistency. Leading yourself at times is merely about awareness of and the breaking of bad habits.
The truth is that before you can lead others, you must first be you and then lead you. It’s really that simple. Leading others however, can be a more complex when you look at the multitude of behaviors, actions, and beliefs that truly effective leadership takes. In my daily posts on Twitter, titled What Does Leadership Take? (#monicawofford), I mention everything from communication skills, to recognition programs, to coaching, to maintenance of an internal knowing about where you’re going. Leading others is the key to your long term success, yet we often spend so much more time picking out the lobby furniture or buying a new software or gadget than we do on our leadership abilities, skills, and development. That is much like spending more time planning a vacation than picking out your retirement plan. You can lead others regardless of your title, your personality, and your current skill level. The key is to determine what they need and provide it within parameters that you are comfortable with and that will help your business grow. Do you find yourself running a business or a daycare? If you find yourself “babysitting”, do not think for a minute that your own leadership, or lack thereof, is without blame in that equation. Leading others takes practice and patience, power and persistence, consistency and consequences, love and care, and dedication, as well as action. Leading others isn’t something you just show up to do it’s what makes you want to show up in the first place.
Simply put, leading others begins with you and ends with them. In the middle, there must be an alignment of your actions, beliefs and behaviors, as well as the alignment of where you are going and whether your current leadership level will take you there. Your practice future depends on how well you are aligned and how well you lead.
About the Author: Monica Wofford, CSP is the CEO of Contagious Companies, Inc, an Orlando based training and consulting firm. To learn more about Monica and her learning resources, or to contact her directly, go to http://www.contagiouscompanies.com or call 1-866-382-0121. Submitted By: Bruce Jordan