Clues to guide leadership development often prove to be more art than science. Many of these concepts live in the part of our brain that deals with feelings & not language. This fact alone can make conveying them difficult at best (I'll still try!). Here are some of the pieces we can utilize to begin the journey of putting together our leadership puzzle.
We all find time to do the things that are most important to us. What do you spend 5 hours doing & it seems like 5 minutes? What was the thing you did at home/work that when you finished you felt engaged & inspired? Write it down, look at it, study it. Trust your gut because connecting everything about who you are to this will show you the work you have to do to contribute to the world!
PERSONALITY & STRENGTHS
There are many ways to crack open what makes you...you. What matters most here is to remain open-minded & not judgmental in any exercise you choose. There are an endless amount of factors that can affect the outcome of any evaluation so be sure to get enough rest, pick a good time of day for you & trust your initial reactions. Pick an assessment that speaks to you or comes highly recommended. StrengthsFinder is a great way to move away from personality tests & shed light on what you're really good at naturally. With these evaluations your puzzle will begin to come into focus as who you are relates to your true talents.
This is an often overlooked part of how we all interact with the world around us. These tests tell us what kind of environment works best for each of us. Discovering where your strongest foothold lies as either a listener, reader, tactile or kinesthetic can be an "a-ha" moment. Humans are very adaptable. We can all learn to survive in any of these but living in an environment for too long that's not our natural tendency can lead to coping instead of thriving.
Write down the 3 most important things in life to you. Once you've got your top 3 things, record yourself describing them. Be sure to answer what they are, why they're important & how you embody them in daily life. Listen back & once you get over the sound of your own voice these will surface when someone asks "what do you do?"...and you'll answer with who you are!
CASE IN POINT
There was a lady in one of my leadership development workshops that wrote down "hair & make-up" for her passion item. She then discovered aspects of her personality that fit perfectly; people energized her, reasonable high emotional intelligence, etc. She was totally kinesthetic in her interacting with any environment around her.
She happened to be not so happy with the job she was doing at the time. Loved working for the company but "felt" there might be a better fit for her somewhere else. She was right! She had developed a moonlighting hair & make-up studio that was interfering with her home life making things out of balance. Coping to survive. After leaving the workshop she began seeking out new opportunities inside the company & 6 months after sent me a message about switching jobs. She had done it! She found the courage & had the information to convey why she needed something new, what that might look like & how she would contribute better with her strengths. Since then, she has been totally motivated to come to work, is more efficient/effective & has found balance for increased quality of life. Everyone wins!
Putting together your leadership puzzle begins with you asking hard questions to discover & be comfortable with you. We've all worked around people who are insecure in some way. This leads to increased vulnerability at every turn. However, you'll be less likely for these emotions to undermine your life/work if you simply know yourself better. There isn't life, there are just 6 billion understandings of it. Be who you are, do the work you love in the manner you're most comfortable & you'll inspire others along the way to do the same!
Your leadership journey begins with a focus on your puzzle pieces. Putting them together in such a way that stays true to who you are will allow you to lead others the way they deserve in the way only you can. Take this common sense approach & don't settle because you, your family, the organization & the world deserves you at your best!
"Successful companies will be the ones that put quality of life first. Do this and the rest - quality of product, productivity of workers, profits for all - will follow." -Ricardo Semler