Who are you as a leader?

My daughter is in the process of applying to university and one of the things she is doing is applying for scholarships that recognize her leadership and community involvement. At the ripe old age of 17, she has really stepped into who she as a leader.  She is clear on who she is, her impact on her community and what she wants to create and change in the world.

So what about you?  Who are you as a leader and what sets you apart from the pack?  To help you answer that question, here are some things to think about.

  1.  What are the values that are most important to you?  Many of us are so busy “doing” that we don’t take time to just “be” and ask this question.  When asked this question, many of my clients do not have an answer.  One exercise I give them is a mountains and valleys exercise. This is how it works.  If you look over time identify some of the high points and low points in your life. This may include career, community, relationships, etc.  For each example, think about what made it so.  In your high point stories, there is a hidden value.  Review the situation that you have identified as a high point and ask what is important about that situation.  In your low point stories, there is usually a value that has been trampled upon. Look at it carefully and see what is there.
  2. Pick two or three values and really embrace them.  Bring them “into your bones” so they become an essential part of you, like your muscles, skin and bone. The more you step into and lead from your values, the more authentic you will be.
  3.  Now think about what you want people to say about you as a leader. Imagine you are a fly on the wall and people are talking about you. What would you like them to be saying about you?  Some of my clients have written their eulogies as a way to answer this question.  Here is a link to a recent HBR blog that is really inspiring:  Leaders with Values  All of the speakers talk about a leader that inspired them and why.
  4. The greatest leaders tell stories that support their values and what they are looking to cause in the world.  What are your stories?  What has defined you to be who you are today?  What do you stand for and are looking to create in the world?  If you want to see story telling in action, look at some of the speeches given by such leaders as Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama.  Each of these individuals tells a story that makes their message more compelling and inspiring.
  5. And finally, what is the impact you want to leave as a leader?  This is not about dollars and cents. It is about your legacy and what you want to leave to the world.  Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, is a recent example of a leader who is clear on what his legacy will be.  He has created a company that is, in part, based on his value of happiness and what he is looking to bring to his company, his employees, his customers and the world

My call to action for all of you out there is to look inward and ask yourself who am I as a leader and what do I stand for?  Are you ready to make a difference in your life?



One Response to “Who are you as a leader?”

  1. murtala says:

    Who am as leader ?

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