How to and Why Be Genuine as a Leader
There is a significant difference between leadership and management. Leaders inspire and work in an upside-down pyramid fashion, while managers are often seeking to be on the top of the pyramid with everyone else beneath.
Leaders create and move things forward, managers handle things. Leaders lead people, managers manage stuff.
“To be a genuine leader, you need to be directed by your personal values.”
If you desire to honor and esteem employees to become greater than when you met them, you’ll make decisions concerning those employees based on that personal value system.
On the other hand, if you value making as much money as possible or building the biggest company in the world, you’ll treat people in a way that promotes and furthers those values.
When it comes to personal values. The goal is to be genuine and pursue your core values. This way, you can surround yourself with people who believe in the same values and can stand alongside you as co-leaders.
Notice I said, “stand alongside you as co-leaders.” The reason for this is that too often leaders think their job is to have people follow them. This notion is more closely tied to being a manager vs. a leader.
There is power in unity and in developing a critical mass of like-minded individuals voluntarily working toward common goals and purpose.
“Genuine leaders know that the secret to designing a winning culture is to inspire leadership in others.”
Whatever you value will be reflected into what you do, how you treat people, and on the type of people you surround yourself with.
Therefore, it becomes critically important that you first define, then prioritize and finally ensure that you are leading according to what is most important to you. What is genuinely core to who you are as a human being.
You can do a self-assessment to see what is currently important and of value to you by simply listing your values on paper, identifying the patterns that emerge, and stating them to yourself as if you were defining yourself as a brand.
I go through this exercise yearly to check in with myself. What emerged for me over 10 years ago was that I am a visionary business strategist with high yield results in technology, who creates high performance cultures focused on leadership development.
Simply put, the secret to my career success is tied to a combination of good design in strategy and developing leaders.
Those who work and have worked with me know to use quantitative and qualitative analysis tools to identify hindering forces, driving forces, and develop well thought out plans of actions that are measurable, and tie to the entire enterprise via balanced score cards.
To accomplish all that, support systems need to be put in place to enable effective execution. This can only be done with an active leadership development program across the company.
“You can’t be a data driven company, without first being people-centric, just as you can’t grow as a business without co-leaders who want to personally grow.”
You can’t manage to go into new areas or expand your business without managing to expand the quality, effectiveness, and attitude of the people in the organization.
People Drive Everything
Well-planned, and well-thought strategies, also go hand in hand with the development of leadership qualities of the people who can execute them.
People who are part of my team love to grow and expand as individuals. For me, this is also the secret to leading a truly happy life.
“A personal growth mindset is a leadership development centered mindset.”
To create values that contribute to the improvement of humanity as a whole; whichever values you hold true for yourself — they must be real and your own, not something you aspire to, but something that you genuinely breathe and live daily.
Leadership Development Starts with You
Once you have your core values clearly defined, you should develop a simple yet accurate leadership philosophy that clearly describes what kind of leader you are.
Some of your philosophies will be based on the experiences you’ve had, especially those experiences at the hands of a less-than-adequate leader, which have shown you what you don’t want to be.
You must reflect on it all, in order that your leadership philosophy will be a full expression of who you are. You will then come to a place of self-integrity, which will allow you to closely follow your values and philosophy on a day-to-day basis.
Leaders Are Born Not at Birth
A leader can be born out of any situation that challenges the individual to identify their own unique values.
Sometimes a leader is born out of a bad economy, after being fired, after failure, out of embarrassment, after a personal disaster, or out of the pure desire to make a difference in other people’s lives.
“This is a key principle to remember: the very misfortunes we experience may give birth to our own expression of extraordinary leadership”
If you have struggled in your life at some point, you can draw from that experience to give birth to the most authentic leader you can be.
I am personally a better human being because of my failures and misfortunes. I’ve learned to be authentic, care about people, and not play corporate political games.
This birth doesn’t lead to easy street, but to a life of discipline and highly rewarding hard work, which often translates into personal fulfillment.
No one leader can make a major difference in people’s lives alone. It takes a lot of people to make it all happen. You must look beyond the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world to understand what will make organizations succeed today.
You must abandon the notion that the credit for any significant achievement is solely attributable to the person at the top. We have long worshiped the imperial leader at the cost of ignoring the countless other contributors to any worthwhile enterprise.
In our hearts, we know that the world is more complex than ever and that we need teams of talented leaders and co-leaders working together — to get important things done.
The most effective organizations are made up of people who are genuine and work collaboratively with a collective desire to co-create better outcomes for people.
“Leadership is all about serving people.”