I don’t know about you, but I believe the last few years have seen leaders really showing up. Being generous and outwardly focused on supporting their people, to get them through significant change and complexity. What I have also noticed is less focus on self. On leaders making sure that they too are ready for the future. The focus has been on making sure that everybody else is ready for the future. What this has created is a leadership gap because the expectation of leadership has changed.
Leadership is no longer seen as just being about things like planning and strategic thinking, decision-making and delivering. Now it is about the human aspects as well. It is about collaboration. It is about connection. It is about trust. It is about bringing together people to create the future.
Now I know, and you know, this was always what people wanted from their leaders. The difference is now this is openly expected, and if these expectations are not met there are consequences. People move on to where they believe their expectations will be met.
But what if you do not have these skills in your toolkit because you have not been paying attention to self? To your own development and growth?
While leaders have felt competent, capable, and confident in the past, the world changing around them has left some leaders feeling diminished, a little less than, and not entirely sure they have what it takes to continue to effectively lead into the future. Their confidence has been rocked.
So leaders have been considering and questioning themselves. Sometimes a quiet internal questioning, so perhaps nobody else has realised that they are thinking:
➤ I’m not sure I can.
➤ I don’t know how.
➤ I’ve lost some confidence.
➤ I’m not sure where to start.
➤ I’m questioning, do I even have the skills and experience to do this?
Here is what I know, if you get stuck in self-doubt you are not serving yourself or your leadership. You are not being your best. I want you to be at your best. And it starts with you.
First Lead Yourself. This is a key tenet of leadership. One of the 3 foundation dimensions of leadership. First Lead Yourself, then your Tribe, and your World. Without this solid foundation of self, who would choose to follow you?
Here is a quick recap of the ideas to support your leadership of self.
Take a good look in the figurative mirror. Consider yourself and your leadership:
- What is good?
- What is not as good?
- What are the gaps?
- What are the opportunities?
Now take responsibility for self, acknowledge self, and look to the future.
The second key element here is how you Show Up. How you take the things that are already in your toolkit of skills, experience, capability, mindset and behaviour and apply them day to day.
- How do you be present?
- How are you self-directing?
- How are you using your strengths so that you can be the best leader that you can be based on where you are right now?
The third key element is to Step Up your leadership. What I am noticing at the moment is this is the stumbling block. Stepping up is about taking your leadership to the next level. Not just being satisfied with the status quo. It involves considering and questioning.
- How do you elevate your leadership?
- How do you elevate your practice of leadership?
- How do you learn and grow?
- How do you expand and embody your leadership?
The world is changing around you. In order for you to be able to continue to operate as a leader, you too need to adapt and change to be able to offer your service as a leader.
In times of change and turbulence, one of the three key things that great leaders do is build capability. I have observed this happening, yet the focus of capability building has been on everyone else. It is time now to build your own capability as a leader so that you can be confident in your own leadership. When people have the skills and competence, they feel more confident they can contribute. This goes for leaders too.
It comes back to facing up. Having a look in the mirror, and identifying the opportunity not only to show up, but to step up your leadership to adapt to the circumstances and the situations that are changing around you.
This goes for everyone. Even for me. Over the past few months, I have been doing some more development and training to become even better in the online environment, because this is a key aspect of the way that the world has changed. It is not that I was not already good at operating in the online environment. It was about being the best I can be so that I can operate at my highest level, and feel like I am at the top of my game. And in doing this, I have something to offer others and am able to create great opportunities for the people around me.
I have just received the global Virtual Master Presenter Accreditation. I think I am probably the first person in Australia to achieve it and that feels great. I am leading. Of course, with that confirmation of competence, comes confidence and, of course, credibility. Those three things create for me the opportunity for presence, influence, and authority, and it is great positioning for leadership.
I believe every leader needs to be thinking about this for themselves. What is the competence you need to develop? It might be about skills, experience, behaviour, and mindset, and so many other elements of your leadership. What is the competence gap that needs to be addressed so that you can feel confident? How will you develop the behaviour, develop the mindset, develop the skills, develop the experience that allows you to be confident and credible so that you too can be leading and being seen as a leader?
Do not keep wondering, do I have the skills and experience? Make sure that you do. Take ownership of this. First lead yourself and step up your own leadership knowing that this will cascade to your people.
Rather than questioning, “Hmm, I don’t know how, or I’m not sure I can,” develop the knowledge that yes you can, and you do know how, or you will figure it out. Become a leader with presence, authority, and influence. Make the difference that you want to make as a leader. Position yourself to create the future for yourself, your team, your organisation. Have a big vision for yourself and your leadership.
My questions to you are:
➤ When you face up, what are the things that you observe?
➤ What are the potential gaps or opportunities that you notice?
➤ What can you do for yourself to support evolution, or possibly the revolution, of your own leadership to the next level?
Set yourself up so that you do have leadership presence, influence, and authority, and you are being the best leader that you can be. The ball is in your court.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
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