For years the traditional leader was modelled on the process-oriented, technically gifted male (usually) who has worked his way up through the system to achieve a position of prominence. Sound familiar? For anyone in a large corporation, this will especially ring true.
We know today that this leadership model is outdated and ineffective. People are expecting a different form of leadership; one with more humanity and flexibility. This means prospective leaders can no longer be purely process-oriented. We need leaders with people skills and a confidence in their own abilities beyond the technical or work-related.
It also means that leadership status should no longer be granted via a title or a status. True leaders emerge well before many organisations reward them like that. Leadership is an attitude, not a role, and if you look around you, you’ll see people leading others, no matter what their job title is. Perhaps you are one of them.
Strengths: create your own leadership style.
What does this mean for you as a potential leader? Well, it might mean that you need to look at yourself differently. What is there about you that makes you a leader? What are your strengths?
I have worked with and seen leaders, teams and organisations truly transform by playing to their strengths. However, 99% of leaders I work with want to work on their weaknesses. Well maybe not 99%, but close enough. I say you need to change your way of thinking. It’s too easy to be critical of ourselves, and that’s just the way our brains work.
In today’s world, it is more important than ever that we take steps to set ourselves apart from our competition. One clear way to gain a competitive edge is to become great or exceptional in your field.
To be a leader and create your own leadership style it’s time you focused on your strengths. That’s what sets you apart from others, and it’s your particular blend of strengths that will pull the team out of a hole when nobody else can do it.
In my book I quote Tim Ferris who said, “It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”
And those words make sense. The ROI on improving your strengths is far greater that it is when spent on overcoming your weaknesses.
So don’t be afraid to change yourself. Allow yourself to shine. Your strengths define your leadership style. Know and accept yourself because at any time now you might be needed to lead the way ahead.
Develop your leadership brand.
Now you’ve changed yourself, it’s time to change the world, and that’s something you can absolutely do with your skillset and leadership attitude. However, you need to get yourself noticed and recognised as a leader.
The best way to do this is to develop your personal brand so you can be seen to lead and set an example. Your values, attitude, actions, communication and style all make up your brand and it’s important that you communicate these. If you don’t define your brand, someone else will do it for you and probably not get it right. I want to be known for my own beliefs and values, not those others have assumed about me. Right?
Your brand is based on the authentic you and that authenticity is what inspires people to follow. Once you determine your leadership brand and what you stand for, you can lead by example with authenticity. That’s the starting point for changing the world.
It’s a very different concept of leadership to the outdated model, isn’t it? We would never have dreamed of discussing strengths, authenticity and personal branding under that model.
Can you see why it’s so powerful?
Can you see why this form of leadership works so well, and outperforms old style leadership particularly in times of change or hardship?
It calls on the person with the natural ability and the skills needed at the time to take the lead, and that person might come from any level within the team or organisation.
If you believe you are a leader, stand up and be one. Show off what you’ve got.