- The nature of the thoughts that you process shapes your leadership.
- It is complex, but not complicated – and you can learn.
I have noticed that many professionals are confused about leadership – and for good reasons. For one, they lack role models of true leadership in the workplace. Hence, they have little or no idea what true leadership looks like.
But leadership is not as complicated as you think. Yes, it is complex, but not complicated – and you can learn.
First, what is leadership? You will find many definitions by different authorities. For instance, my mentor, the leadership guru, John C. Maxwell, gave a definition of leadership that I have worked with for years as a member of the John Maxwell Team.
At some point, I decided to take it further. So, I came up with a definition that I believe enhances my mentor’s idea.
Maxwell said: “leadership is influence” and I say: “leadership is YOU” – and here is why. The nature, quality, and scope of your influence is determined by the nature, scope, and quality of YOU.
The person of the leader affects the kind of influence that they wield. Stop looking out there for leadership. Look at YOU; look within yourself first. Leadership starts with YOU. Furthermore, your leadership is determined by the combination of three aspects of you. Let me explain.
Who YOU Are: This is your identity; it is who you are by design. Your self-perception or what you believe about yourself crafts your leadership style. For instance, the insecure leader is insecure due to their self-image; what they understand about themselves.
This self-image in turn produces the annoying micromanager that you experience at work. Your perceived identity (right or wrong) determines how well you lead. Effective leaders tap into their true identity to lead well.
How YOU Think: This is your mindset. How do you think? How does your mind work? Is your thinking aligned with your true identity or are you experiencing a fake existence due to wrong thinking? The nature of the thoughts that you process shapes your leadership.
This is the difference between Hitler and a Mother Theresa. Each leader made a global impact – one for evil, the other for good.
What YOU Do: This is your work. Your identity and mindset gain expression through your work. You produce work from your identity and mindset roots. Furthermore, the quality of your work determines the quality of your leadership influence.
Those who do mediocre work seldom enjoy positive leadership impact, but those who do the hard work of producing excellence see their leadership influence grow. Effective leaders do excellent work.
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