Where do you lead from?
The answer to that question has a lot to do with how you will lead and how well you will lead.
Reggie McNeal in his book, A Work of Heart speaks to this when he says, “Those who understand their own hearts will be better prepared to lead amid the growing discontinuities at the dawn of the third Christian millennium.”
Kevin Cashman, CEO at Korn Ferry, which specializes in executive search and leadership development touches on this same theme in his book, Leadership from the Inside Out. In it he summarizes a “simple yet profound realization, leadership is authentic self-expression that creates value.”
Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations looked at the leadership styles, backgrounds, and track records of senior executives from a range of companies. The researchers found that a high self-awareness score was the single best predictor of overall success. Another book that nails this truth is entitled, Leadership and Self Deception, from the Arbinger Institute.
Now that might sound like so much psychobabble so let me repeat the question at the top: Where do you lead from? It requires that you are self-aware and in turn that you can self-manage.
Do you lead from a foundation of deeply knowing that you, a “poor miserable sinner” are loved completely and unconditionally by Jesus? Do you grow daily in understanding more and more the depth of your sin and in so doing understand even more the depth of God’s love for you in Christ? When you are growing spiritually like that you will interact with people very differently from most people!
Do you lead from a place of superiority? Or comparably do you lead from a place of diminished esteem? Some lead from a place that values things over people or the task more than those who work to complete the task.
Each place from which you lead will shape the thinking, words, behavior and success or productivity of you as a leader and the organization you lead. The evidence shows up in leaders who demand that they are listened to and speak with derogatory language. Other evidence of where one leads from is how they manipulate others or steal the credit. It may show up as ignoring people and their hurts to never thanking anyone for a job well done. On the other hand it may mean a leader is so worried about others that they back down from conflict or never give attention to the mission. Where you lead from has huge ramifications!
Do you know where you lead from? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what pushes your buttons? Do you know how to compose yourself when you begin to get agitated when those buttons get pushed? Do you know what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to because it is or is not a good fit for you? Do you know who those people are who can excel in the area where you are weak? Do you know when to quit?
Do you know when to speak and when to be silent? Do you know when to ask for help? Are you aware of your tone of voice and your choice of words? Do you notice how people react to you, listen to you or ignore you? Are you in touch with that inner critic or “gremlin” that can push you down the bottomless pit of despair? What is the pattern of your thinking that can strangle creativity or drain your energy?
It is all related to being self aware and knowing where you lead from.
Would you follow you?
In truth, leadership begins with self-leadership.
Now…what are you going to do about it?
Contact me for a free sample coaching appointment and let’s talk about it.
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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, firstname.lastname@example.org or scottgress.com
"Helping leaders be more productive - less controlling"