The most critical leadership skill? According to James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book Learning Leadership, it’s the ability to learn. They say you need to “Take initiative for your own leadership development” by first learning “who you are.” They go on to say that you should not be asking yourself, “Will I make a difference?” Instead, the question should be, “How will I make the difference I want?” In other words, be an authentic leader by forging and living out the vision you want to create.
So, who are you? Becoming an authentic leader is quickly becoming one of the most requested topics in my executive coaching business. Our approach to being an authentic leader is to…
- Discover your core values. Jim Collins in Built to Last found that companies with sustained success have a strong set of core values. The core value that ran through the entire organization of my former company Nike was “to experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors.” This drove everyday behavior, our vision and even goal setting. My core value of “change the world and make an impact” has been the driving force behind the design and direction of all my companies. What is yours?
- Find your voice by identifying your strengths and passions. This is your DNA. Focusing on fixing your weaknesses will at best make you average. Focusing on further developing your strengths can make you exceptional. Dip into your ever-lasting well of energy by living out your passions. What is your DNA?