leadership lessons 101
do you know what you do best? (plus a wedding pic)
I have to start this blog with a little pic of our Zo getting married last week. Such a beautiful day – full of joy and love. We are so excited for you Zo and hope you are having an amazing honeymoon!
Anyway. I’ve decided to do a two part-er on leadership for September. Two simple leadership lessons that we could all do with a reminder of. And when I say leadership – don’t count yourself out of this if you’re not SMT/ CEO/ SLT/ etc. I firmly believe we are all involved in the work of leadership (there are people around you looking to you and your example) and so that includes you.
I am, of course, going to start with the one you would most expect from me.
101: Lead from Strengths
This lesson is so obvious and yet the reality is that although we know it, we don’t live it out. Simply – we need to know to know what we love, what we enjoy, what we have the potential to do better than thousands of others, and lean into that. I spend my life talking to people/leaders/teams about their Strengths (I’m a strengths coach) and the power of this is so often underestimated. And yet, when you listen to the stories of anyone that we admire for what they have chosen to do with their life, they have intentionally played to their strengths. Here’s a few comments I often hear in my work.
Yes but everyone can do that
I’m sorry, but they can’t and that’s not true. So often we think that everyone can do what we can do, and we minimise our contribution because it feels so natural and normal to us. Just because it feels natural to us does not mean that it is easy for all human beings. I can tell you from countless conversations that the vast majority of us minimise our strengths and see them as human nature. That’s why I love using the CliftonStrengths assessment as it gives you such specific language to start to own and be intentional about.
Yes but that’s just what being a leader is
Again, no. Leadership has many character traits and almost countless aspects for us to consider that in turn enable the positive development of those around us. But there is more than one way to do it. And nobody does it like you. The way you can lead, develop, build and direct is unlike anyone else. You need to lean into this and develop a kind of leadership that works for you and the good of those around you
Yes but I have to be able to do everything
Oh dear. Again, no, you really don’t. I appreciate that education and society contribute hugely to this idea of perfection and well-rounded brilliance, but it really is a bind. You do not have to be able to do everything. You need to know what you do well, know what you don’t do so well, and then mitigate for that. Then, you need to focus your attention on leading from your strengths and enabling OTHERS to fill your gaps and do lots of things more brilliantly than you do. This story is repeated over and over again when listening to successful leaders – whatever their style and personality might be. Quit trying to be everything and all things and know clearly what it is that you can bring most effectively.
So, today’s reminder is simple. What do you love? What do you enjoy? What do people appreciate about you? What seems to give you satisfaction? Do as much of this as you can and lead others from this place. It’s a win-win situation every time.
If you need some help in discovering this for yourself or your team – do drop me a line, it’s literally my day job. If you want to invest in yourself more deeply then the Purpose Pursuit might be for you. Doors are closed until Jan but you can register your interest and find out more here).
Have a super strengths-fuelled day,