Leadership And The Art Of Being Yourself
In the memorable words of Dr. Seuss, "Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
These are words to work by, words to live by as well, words that are a focusing mantra for inspired and effective business leadership.
When the pressure is on, when you're being asked to deliver results with fewer resources, do more with less, and lead a team or company to new heights, maintaining the commitment and engagement of your team in stretching times, the temptation is sometimes to forget about who you are, forget about what it means to be you at your best, and just immerse yourself in work until you're drained, if not exhausted.
When you're concerned about the company's future, and perhaps uncertain about your own job security, the temptation is sometimes to try to work 24/7, to lose sight of your own individual potential for brilliance, and to put your head down and try not to stand out, to fade into the background rather than venturing into anything that feels like risk.
Here's the thing, though.
Leadership and Being Yourself
When you are being you at your best, you will feel energised, balanced, inspired and inspiring, able to draw freely and deliberately from your personality, strengths and values in order to see and seize the perfect, creative, focused, finely tuned opportunity and turn it into something amazing. When you are being yourself (again, your best self, it goes without saying!), you will be able to motivate, inspire, and propel your team forward to new levels of commitment and success.
Leadership, Perspective, and Judgment
On the other hand, when your work/life balance is shot, when you're a bit sleep-deprived, when you've fallen out of your normal exercise regime and are feeling the worse for it, when your personal life is consistently compromised for work demands, when you're so busy worrying about what might go wrong that you can't focus on what could go right with good quality thinking, you become less efficient, less able to call on your strengths to work wonders, less subtle with your emotional intelligence (if not actually emotionally stupid!), and generally uninspiring as a leader, as well as less effective.
You absolutely need to ensure your work/life balance energises you and enhances your career. If you respond to professional pressure by an angst-driven mode of working all hours and checking your blackberry in the middle of the night, you risk burning out and certainly being less successful. It's clearly not sustainable either.
Creating and maintaining balance between work and life allows you to have good perspective and judgment, giving you a centredness and gravitas that will position you as a positive, stable presence in your organisation, someone who is in charge of themselves and their work challenge and opportunities.
Leadership and Confidence
This isn't (just) another reminder about the importance of good work/life balance, however. It's also a reminder about the importance of knowing who you are at your best, and relaxing into the confidence that when you are your unique, wonderful self, you can do remarkable things. you can do almost anything.
As Dr. Seuss says, "there is no one alive who is youer than you." I find with my executive coaching clients, most of whom are senior leaders, that they are most brilliant when they are most themselves.
It's not quite as easy as it sounds, because being your best self depends on understanding your personality (and what brings out your best, what to do more of, and what to avoid in order to be your best), understanding your values and having the courage to actively express and maximise them in your work and relationships, and consciously leveraging your strengths. It requires having confidence in who you are and knowing that you don't have to impress anyone or prove yourself to anyone. It's about being your best self, rather than an imperfect imitation of somebody else. Your self-assurance makes you more relaxed and able to focus on the person and people you're dealing with, rather than on yourself.
All of this takes personal and professional development work, as I find with my coaching clients. Take advantage of opportunities for expert executive coaching, which will encourage you to excel by maximising your development.
Leadership and Charisma
One of my clients wrote this to me a few days ago: "I am learning more and more that being yourself is not a risk, it's an opportunity."
In practice, it means being brave, being authentic, having the courage to show your feelings at times, risking saying something that reflects your intuition but may not be what you think the other person wishes to hear, not being robotic. It means having the energy and centredness from a good work/life balance that allows you to show up at work as someone truly in charge, someone who others trust, believe in, want to lead them.
Charisma is sometimes defined as a quality that allows the person you're talking to to feel really seen, understood, and focused on. That's actually an essential quality of leadership, I believe, and an essential part of that is being yourself, knowing who you really are at your best, and trusting in that so you can paradoxically forget yourself.
Leadership and the Art of Being Yourself
Ultimately, I believe an inspiring leader is an inspiring person. The quality of your personal development is at the heart of your success as a leader. The art of being yourself as an authentic expression of you at your unique, human, brilliant, quirky individual best needs to be cultivated and developed for you to be the leader you can be.
Expert executive coaching is one way for you to understand, develop, and leverage all the strengths, values, and qualities that make you the person you are and the person (and the leader) you have the potential to be.
About the Author
Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international personal and professional coach, one of only 1% of coaches in the world to have attained the Master Certified Coach credential from the ICF (International Coach Federation). With individual, group, and corporate coaching programmes on offer, La Vita Nuova can create a coaching plan to help you design and create an extraordinary life and work. To learn more about Dr. Nicola Bunting and La Vita Nuova please visit the website: http://www.la-vita-nuova.com