You, like most leaders, spend a lot of time on what you need to “do”. Long lists of action items, email and text messages waiting in que, phone calls to make and meetings to go to are enticing you. Being busy and feeling needed is seductive and addictive; crossing “to do’s” off a list feels really good, giving an impression that you’re moving forward.
You’ve forgotten something. In the midst of your adrenaline-addicted pace of doing, have you stopped to consider who you want to be as a leader?
I know – thinking can feel unproductive. It doesn’t feel like you’re getting anything done. Yet the kind of leader you want to be is one of the most important areas to reflect on; it will set the tone for your future successes.
This is a significant because the truth is that leadership is not about managing things, it’s about influencing people. And to influence people you have to form relationships with them. To successfully form relationships, you have to be true to who you are in your leadership (have you ever known someone who “does” leadership, you’ll know the difference). And those relationships are the engine that powers your ability to lead others.
Even if you’ve been a leader for a long time, you should still revisit the kind of leader you want to be, since leadership is an ongoing journey, and there are always adjustments to be made along the way.
So settle in, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, close the door and ask yourself these questions to help understand what kind of leader you want to be (P.S. for many, capturing the answers in writing helps to solidify any forward action to be taken):
What qualities do I aspire to exemplify in my leadership? What makes them important to me? What makes them important to others?
- When I move on to whatever is next, what do I want to leave behind? How will people remember me as a human being and leader?
- What will it take for me to truly stand out as a leader?
- What actions will I commit to in moving my leadership to the next level?
- What is the first step I can take to be the leader I want to be?
- Who can help me?
- What other questions need to be asked to help me to be the kind of leader I want to be?
(That last one is a trick question, but I really want to know what you would ask!).
If you are driven to be a better leader, you won’t let these questions rest. Move forward! Find someone to support you, create an action plan and practice demonstrating and refining your new behaviors in your leadership and your life. Don’t stop learning and getting better! There is always more to do in becoming the kind of leader you want to be.