My posts more recently have been based on my experiences of my personal journey. Thank you for the generous feedback, and I have to say the vulnerability and sharing have helped me too. I began to think this week you might be wondering what happened to my focus on Leadership. Specifically, there was a time where almost all of my posts focused on Leadership and talked about “Leading for Change”.
The truth is, I have been going through a lot of work to help myself be a better leader. There’s some incredible stuff which has emerged, and I’ve worked to confront. The CTI Leadership program has been an experience I could not have anticipated. The program has done a masterful job of putting me in a position of peeling back layers of crap I’ve piled on over the years and getting down to a truer version of me. There’s still lots more work to do, and I know this journey will continue far beyond the Leadership program.
Here’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned. No amount of Leadership theory is going to make me a good leader. Being a leader is not about following some recipe to get people doing things, nor is about being able to craft your words carefully. Being a leader is not even about being responsible. Being a leader means to Take responsibility for your world.
Recently I was in a conversation with two of my mentors, Henry Kimsey-House and Christopher Avery. Christopher I’ve known for about 7-8 years now and is who I first learned what it means to take responsibility through participating in The Leadership Gift Program. Henry is one of the co-founders of the Coaches Training Institute who I have taken all of my coach training through, and am currently in the midst of their Leadership program.
There was a resounding agreement in the discussion a Leader is someone who takes responsibility for their world. Taking responsibility is different from being responsible. In being responsible, this is often about things people are doing out of some form of obligation. For example, in my corporate Project Manager life, I believed a RACI chart would ensure people knew who was responsible for delivering something. I thought knowing they were responsible for something would also provide for a good outcome. What I now know is although it may have been clearer who had to do something (obligation), it did nothing to ensure what the final product looked like.
The difference is in taking responsibility it becomes something I am claiming, owning and internalizing. Taking responsibility means I am clear on who I am as a leader, what it means for me to have an impact on my world, what am I believe in, and what do I want for the world around me. All of those things help me as a leader respond to whatever shows up rather than trying to control the world.
In knowing a leader is someone who takes responsibility for their world, it also supports my belief that we’re all leaders in this world. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what job title you have or where you choose to live. More than ever, the fact is our world needs every single one of us to step forward and lead.
My work in leadership
I choose to take responsibility for my world, and the impact I can & will have on it. I know for me to fulfill the biggest version of myself in this journey that it starts with me. I cannot be fully present with the impact I have as a leader if I’m subconsciously blocking myself from ruffling feathers by telling myself some story. I cannot live on purpose, if I don’t see and believe in the impact, I can have as a leader. I cannot be the most powerful version of myself if I keep giving my power away to others (whether they know I’m doing it or not).
I’ve done all of these things and more for a very long time. Doing these limiting behaviours had become so second nature I just figured I was the best version of me possible, and there just wasn’t any more to give. It was the best I could hope for. Man, was I wrong!!
I know I’ll never be perfect as I’m human, and we’re the masters in the animal kingdom at telling ourselves things which only limit us. However, in choosing to take responsibility for who I am as a leader, I am want to confront things about myself when I see them. I no longer accept this is as good as I’ll be, and when I find myself in a new place, I won’t accept it’s the best I can be either. I no longer accept there is a limit to who I can be or the impact I can have as a leader in this world.
This belief around what it means to be a leader is why I am returning to writing more frequently, as we both benefit from the time I spend in this way, and my words seem to an impact on my world in a way I feel I am living more fully on purpose.
Leading for Change
I have not strayed from thinking about leadership. If anything I think about it far more than I ever did in the past. The truth is my views, definitions, and beliefs around leadership are broadening, and that is happening because of the work I am doing. In other words, being a great leader starts with me, and not the theory I can read in a book. There’s lots more to come on this topic in the future as it’s just who I am, and who I’ve always been.
Let me leave you with this thought for now. You are a leader. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you’re young or old, educated or not. Every one of us is a leader in this world when we choose to take responsibility for our world.
Please take your place as a leader. The world needs you more than ever! Hurry!
As I am learning so much about Leadership from both Christopher Avery, and Henry & Karen Kimsey-House I want to share their Leadership books with you. I highly recommend both of these books as they are central my Leadership library: