Leadership is not a job title. It’s a state of mind; an intention to serve; an opportunity not to “step up”, but to “step back”.
The search for secrets of great leadership often begins by searching for answers about how to influence others, change them, guide them, or develop them. But the true secret to great leadership is to first attend to the most important, most rewarding, and most life-changing step on the journey: to develop yourself.
The very best leaders have discovered that becoming a person who others will follow is not learnt in books, in lectures, or by looking outside themselves. It is discovered by looking within.
Leaders who can “step back” in the following ways will not only create space for others to learn, to grow and to flourish, they will find that leadership is most definitely a journey of self discovery.
The need for control is a protective mechanism of the brain. Often it is the fear of losing control that triggers us to overreact when things feel like they are going off track. The very best leaders know the difference between what they can control, what they should control, and what they cannot control. By looking within and understanding where the desire for control arises, they recognise that the only thing they really do control is themselves.
Dissolve the Ego
How we appear to others feels like a very important issue. But once you realise that the only thing you really control is yourself, it becomes fairly obvious that worrying about what others think, is wasted energy. The best leaders check inside before they respond to a situation to be sure that what motivates their action is not driven by their ego, but by the real need of the situation.
Look & Listen
A busy mind can trick you into believing reality is the story playing out in your mind. But reality is what’s happening in real time around you. If you take a moment to pause your own inner dialogue and simply observe, you will realise that all the signals you need are there. When you pay attention fully, your brain receives more information and you will find there are many more possible ways to move forward than your busy mind could possibly imagine.
Every person is unique. Just as we accept that no two faces are the same, this principle applies to every aspect of your “self”. Forged by your experiences as you’ve travelled through life, the best leaders know themselves, accept themselves, and recognise that life is a constant journey of becoming more “themselves”. This is the deepest type of leadership because it shows others that they too can be themselves, and this is the true gift of leadership.
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