The Essence of Leadership I

Last week I wrote about the leadership gap (misalignment and lack of integrity), as well as what leadership is not (leadership versus management). I also made the bold assertion that leadership is the solution for “what’s broken in business, in communities, in families, and in the rest of the world.” In that spirit, I offer what I view as some of the critical foundations of leadership – the type of leadership that can and will change things for the better in business and in life.

This week and in next week’s blog I will be sharing what I believe to be the essence of leadership – ways of thinking, being and seeing the world that are the difference between leaders and managers, between execution and effectiveness, and between impact and outcomes. Join me on the journey of exploration into leadership and leaders. After all, it’s about time, and there’s no time to lose. Strap yourself in for a ride through the essence of leadership.

The Essence of Leadership is Intention, Influence & Impact

  1. Intention: Leaders are intentional about everything. They live and lead on purpose.
  2. Influence: Leaders are focused on influencing people by being a person that people trust and want to follow.
  3. Impact: Leaders are committed to impact (not just actions, goals or objectives). Leaders are passionate about making a difference through their leadership.

Leaders Are Focused on Empowerment over Delegation

Delegation is about having someone else do something that needs to be done. Empowerment is about trusting someone to accomplish what needs to be achieved.

Leader’s Job is to Grow

The leader’s job is to grow people by growing themselves.

Leaders Are Developed (not Born)

The foundations of leadership are skills, shifts and perspectives that can be developed and nurtured if you care enough to be willing to be open and vulnerable.

Leaders Are Authentic and Vulnerable

Leadership is about influence. Influence is about trust. Trust is about relationship. Relationship is about knowing who you are. Letting people know who you are requires courageous vulnerability.

Leaders Are Listeners

Leaders are zealously committed to listening (beyond words), to understanding, and to assuring that people feel heard, which requires shifting from all about you to all about the other.

Leaders Are Master Questioners

Leaders not only polish and hone their questioning skills, but they embrace questions as the most effective tool for helping people learn, discover, own, and grow.

Leaders Are Safe

Leaders are open and non-judgmental, welcoming all that a person is, so that people feel safe in being open, authentic and vulnerable themselves.

Leaders Bless Challengers

Leaders know that they have (and will always have) blind spots, so they bless challengers – people who are fully invited to challenge the leader, call them out, and help them see blind spots and integrity gaps (where actions don’t align with words).

Leaders Know that Perception is Reality

Leaders embrace the truth that in matters of people (i.e. virtually all matters), perception is reality, and they acknowledge and seek to understand perceptions in order to build trust, facilitate collaboration, and engage with people.

Leaders Live Modeling

Leaders know that they have the opportunity to impact people and create change through their actions, so they intentionally model behaviors, thinking, and ways of being with the awareness that people are watching and that they will follow.

Leaders Model Self-Accountability

Leaders set clear expectations, make clear commitments, tell on themselves when they fail to honor their commitments, and own their choices that kept them from honoring those commitments.

That’s it for this week. Soak this in, process them and consider them. Consider how these shifts and commitments would alter your leadership and the impact of your leadership in every corner of your business, career, relationships and life.

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Attitude Reflects Leadership 2

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