Authentic Leadership Feed

Me vs. Me: The Battlefield of the Mind

Have you ever felt as if you weren't normal because you seemed to fight with yourself all the time? For instance, you might battle between making a quick decision and wanting more data. Or you may be the life of the party and then later wish you hadn't been so trusting when you divulged all of those funny stories about yourself.

Worry no more about having a split personality.

There is nothing wrong with you, you just have inner or "Me-Me" conflict.

I often see conflicting behavioral and/or motivational styles on my clients' assessments and experience plenty of my own inner conflict between goal achievement (tasks) and relationship building (people).

The good news for the mindful conflicted soul is that inner conflict makes it easier to see things from a variety of perspectives.

Embrace your inner conflict as a strength that helps you adapt easier than others!

When it comes to personalities, with or without inner conflict, the most important thing is knowing ourselves inside and out so we can adapt our behavior when necessary to obtain the best outcomes. Self-knowledge is power, especially in the heat of the battle of life.

How well do you know your instinctive behavioral patterns? What are you doing with that knowledge to leverage who you are, where you are? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

If you want to learn more, a complimentary consultation might benefit either you or your team. What are you waiting for? Click the link below to schedule your consultation today.

Authentic Leadership:Transformation in the Crucible

Crucible: A severe test or trial.

Normal human beings do not SEEK out trials and tribulations to insert themselves into in order to learn. We typically avoid these situations at all costs! When was the last time you scheduled a crisis into your calendar? Even though we tend to avoid them, we can learn the most through the crucibles in our lives if we take the time to objectively reflect.

Speaking of crucibles, Bill George states:

"By going through the process of reliving and rethinking your earlier experience, you can see it through a different lens. Whereas before you may have viewed yourself as a victim of life's injustices, now you can find the power in having had those experiences and recognize that they give you the passion to use your leadership to help others."

What crucible in your life comes to mind right now? Following are some questions* to help you glean the most from the experience:

  • WHAT happened? Describe the main events.
  • WHEN did you first become aware that something significant was taking place? Looking back, what did you miss seeing? What from this experience can you use to notice the "trouble" earlier next time?
  • HOW did your actions influence the outcome of this?
  • WHY did this touch you so deeply? What changes in attitudes or beliefs does this experience push you to consider?  

Write out the answers to these questions this month. Reflection brings transformation. In doing so you might just unlock the door to being the best you can be. 

*Source:Adapted from "Coaching Questions: A Coach's Guide to Powerful Asking Skills, Tony Stoltzfus

Learning From Our Stories

All of our life experiences, professional and personal, shape the way we lead and affect our potential.  The more we reflect on our stories and learn from them, the more authentic we become and the more effective we will be.  
In last week's post you were challenged to draw the path of your life and divide it into chapters.  Today, I encourage you to look at your story from satellite height, surveying the whole story of your life and leadership.  As you reflect on it, the origins of your purpose and motivations as a leader will emerge. 
Start by looking back at the chapters you identified from last week's exercise and take note of the people, events, and experiences that had the greatest impact on your life.  Then, look at the chapters individually and answer the following about each:

  • What did the experiences in this chapter make me believe?
  • The experiences in this chapter made me more or less ______________.
  • If I could go back, I would have more of _________ in this chapter.
  • How am I affected on a daily basis today by the events in this chapter?

When you finish these questions, examine your story as a whole.  Where do you first see your inspiration and passion for leadership appear? How have each developed over time?  What person and experience impacted you the most?  Where do you find the greatest fulfillment in leading? 
Questions. Questions. Questions.  I was told once to love the questions because it is in the search for answers that transformation occurs. Transformation leads to inspired leadership.  Only you have your answers.  Happy searching!  

What will you do with what you find?
Next in the series: Learning from our crucibles... 

Note: Exercise taken from Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, by Bill George.

The Journey to Authentic Leadership: Examine Your Story

The difference with authentic leaders lies in the way they frame their stories.  Their life stories provide the context for their lives, and through them they find their passion and inspiration to to make an impact on the world. (Bill George, True North, p. 15)

Have you ever stopped to consider how your unique story has shaped and equipped you to impact those around you? No one has a story exactly the same as yours.  Our individual journeys, with their peaks and valleys, shape the way we live and lead. Both our personal and professional experiences develop our leadership gifts over time.

Each life experience teaches us about our passion to lead.

Today I'm going to share with you an exercise called the "Path of Life", that gave me tremendous insights into my own leadership style. Drawing the path of our lives enables us to examine the impact of our past upon our present and future. Are you ready to learn?

Take a piece of paper and start in the bottom left corner, labeling the starting point of the line "Birth".  Then draw the path of your life from there to the upper right corner.  Put some twists and turns on the page.  Be creative as you let your life story unfold before you.  Label the milestones - places you have lived, significant achievements, relationships, family, life-changing lessons learned... anything that is important to you.  Draw some pictures to represent the events on the timeline of your life.
When you are finished, look at your path and divide it into four or five chapters marked by significant events in your life.  Give each chapter a descriptive title and label the chapters on your path.  Your life story has made you into the person you are today. 

My life story has taught me to lead with more compassion and less judgment. What about yours? How can you better use it to impact your world tomorrow? Share with us in a comment by clicking the comment link below. 

Your Moment of Truth: What Will You Choose?

Moment of Truth: A crucial or decisive time, at which one is put to the ultimate test.
We all deal with moments of truth when we face crucial decisions that could change the course of our lives forever. Do you remember the movie "The Matrix" and the red or blue pills? In the movie, our soon-to-be hero, Neo, is put to the ultimate test when Morpheus shows Neo two pills, a blue and a red one, and gives him a choice:

Blue pill: Forget everything and go back to the status quo.
Red pill: Learn the truth and step into your destiny.

We are no different than Neo in that we are all on a journey towards significance whether or not we consciously realize it. However, all of us aren't as courageous as Neo, are we? Neo took the red pill and left the status quo behind. What would you do?
Some people are afraid to search for meaning in their lives because they will have to do something with their discovery. After all, something happens inside us when we finally uncover the purpose for our lives...what we were born to do.
Suddenly, we realize we need to redeem the time ahead of us. Envisioning our purpose or "promised land" puts us in an interesting position because we find ourselves between the "here" and the "there". We know where we are and yet we see how things could be. Tension builds and we face our moment of truth.
Our moment of truth in leadership and in life exists at the boundary between current reality and our "promised land". It is here where we see new possibilities and where we must ask ourselves:

  • What will I do with what I now see?
  • What will I do with what could be?
  • What keeps me from entering in to the promised land?
Today, you are Neo. You can choose the blue "pill" of the status quo or the red "pill" of possibility. The choice is yours. What will you do?

Tired of the status quo or curious about what your "moment of truth" might look like? Call me for a free consultation today at 913-219-7844.

Thoughtful Thursday: What Matters Most to You?

Purpose is essential in life and leadership. When we do what we are created to do, everyone benefits and we live and lead more passionately.

Today's Thoughtful Thursday quote comes from my passion of helping people discover what they were born to do and to incorporate that "purpose" or "calling" into their lives. Ponder this one with me:

How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to know what really matters most. - Stephen Covey

  • What is deeply important to you?
  • If you were to be given a life achievement award, what would be said about you?
  • How are you managing yourself to do the things you are most passionate about?


Care to share or suggest a quote for next time? Email me or leave a comment below. Happy pondering!

Self Leadership: Lead yourself to success

Great leadership starts with self leadership. If we can't conduct our own lives effectively, we can't effectively lead others. Think about this. How inspired are you to follow someone who:

  • Never completes a project or achieves a goal
  • Always has an excuse for everything
  • Lives in continual disarray, or
  • Displays poor interpersonal skills?

Most likely, you've cringed at some or all of the above statements. What person in your life comes to mind right now? How effective are you in the skills that would prevent such words from describing you?

Self leadership starts with knowing yourself intimately, commonly known in the coaching world as self awareness. Interestingly enough, self awareness is one of the most lacking skills in leaders today. Most of us tend to see the world through our own dirty glasses, not realizing how we really stack up to true greatness.

Once you know yourself - your strengths, weaknesses, behavior tendencies and motivators - you can begin to lead yourself to success. Following are some ways to become more self aware:

  • Take some behavioral/personality/skills assessments from a reputable provider/coach and develop some action steps based on what learn about yourself.
  • Ask for honest feedback from a trusted adviser, peers or subordinates on specific strategic areas you need to succeed. (Note: A 360 degree assessment can provide this for you and guarantee anonymity for your reviewers) 
  • Get serious about writing that personal mission or life purpose statement. 

Finally, live life with an open mind and remember that oftentimes other people know you better than you know yourself. Listen to what they are really saying about you and then lead yourself to become what you were created to be.

What will you do today to know yourself better? What tools have worked for you in the past?  As always, we'd love to hear from you in a comment!

If you would like to learn more about yourself through assessments and develop some skills from what you learn, that's what I help people do. Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! 

Fueling the Responsibility of Leadership

Leadership is not to be taken lightly. The greater our influence over others, the greater responsibility we have. Because of our influence as leaders, society holds leaders of all levels to higher standards.

We must give them what they want.

The people we serve deserve our best efforts and our best selves. Unfortunately, most leaders are tired, frazzled, and running on empty. We rarely see their best because they are too drained to give it. Following are three tips to help fuel your leadership tank. 

1) Remember who you serve. 

Thoughtful leaders know who and what they serve. Why do you do what you do? Why does your organization do what it does? Find a way to connect your passions to your leadership responsibilities and lead from that place. Follow your heart, serve those around you and lead with the highest goal in mind. This will help you do the right thing, even though it may not be popular. 

2) Keep your "cup" filled to overflowing. 

The more you give to other people and the more responsibility you have on and off the job, the more time you need to refuel. I heard a speaker say: “If your intake is less than your outflow then your upkeep will be your downfall.” How do you relieve stress? What fills your energy tank? What are you trying to give that you do not have?

3) Get a coach or mentor.  

Never stop learning or trying to improve. When we think we’ve “arrived”, we are ripe for a fall. Leaders should never cease to ask for wisdom, feedback and accountability in their endeavors. A learning spirit keeps us humble because it acknowledges we don’t know it all. Additionally, a coach can help you connect your with your passions and get your self care routine on track.

One final thought. My fellow leaders, we all know how tough the road of leadership can be, rewarding as it is. The next time you find yourself criticizing someone in a position of authority, give them a little grace, and remember that people are looking at you too.

Now its your turn. I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post. If you care to share any of your answers, we’d love to hear from you in a comment!

Connecting Learning with Leading
1.  What one thing can you do for yourself this week to fill your "cup"?
2.  Do you have a "safe place" in which to discuss your fears, frustrations or goals? If not, what baby step will you take this week to fill that void?

Need help in becoming a better leader? Contact me at 913-219-7844 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how you can lead to your full potential.

Character Growth Through Introspection

Leadership starts with yourself, with who you are...your character. What we are on the inside eventually makes its way to the "outside" for all the world to see and react to, affecting our effectiveness in influencing others. How often do you take the time to reflect on integrity of your character? Today I will share some questions to help you evaluate who you really are.

Several years ago, I participated in a leadership development program focusing on becoming a person of influence. Within one of the lessons was a set of questions to be used in daily reflection as a self exam for exemplary character. I've not found a better list since.

Be warned, these questions pack quite a punch if you take them seriously! If you are up to the challenge, read on and then consider using these questions daily to take your character "pulse".

Questions for Daily Introspection*

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did I live out my faith or my core values today?
  8. When did I last encourage someone?
  9. Did I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  10. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  11. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  12. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  13. Is the way I'm spending my spare time contributing to my overall life purpose?
  14. Am I proud? Would other people see me as proud or arrogant?
  15. Am I thankful I am not like other people (an indicator of pride)?
  16. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what I am I doing about it?
  17. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

Character counts. The better people we are the better our people can become.

Now I'd like to know what you thought of these questions. How would you make the list better? Share your thoughts in a comment!

*Source: Adapted from John Wesley's Holy Club, Introspective questions

Leading from the Heart

With leadership comes great responsibility. Leadership requires more than vision casting, goal setting, project planning & task management. With leadership comes the role of a shepherd, to care for those under your charge, ensuring their safety and ongoing development.

Great leadership combines competence with compassion.

Leading from the heart looks like this:

  • Be available to your "flock" for counseling on personal matters. A listening ear and a kind word can help get them back on track professionally.
  • Be protective of your direct reports. Let them know you are on their team.
  • Be watchful for new opportunities. Don't be selfish with your star performers. Let them take on new roles when they arise. The more they succeed the better you look!
  • Be real. Live and lead authentically, sharing your failures along with your successes. Real people develop loyal followers.

Great leadership extends from the heart. How heartfelt is your leadership style? If you have anything to add to my list from your experience, leave a comment by clicking the comment link below. We'd love to hear from you! 

Connecting Learning with Leading
1.  How well do you lead from the heart?
2.  What two things can you do this week to show your direct reports how much you care?

Need help in becoming a better leader? Contact me at 913-219-7844 for a complimentary consultation to learn more about how you can lead to your full potential.