Question for you…are you intentional about developing your leadership image? Maybe that question feels a bit daunting as you begin to ponder, “Where do I start and what’s that even supposed to look like?” This is not the spot where you “insert here” with the name of a personality you want to become – and it’s certainly not about crafting a false image that looks good on paper…
Discovering your leadership image is about identifying those very real aspects of yourself and developing them to become an authentic leader – regardless of where you fall on the org chart. You see, real leadership isn’t simply about what you do…it’s about who you are, how you show up, and how you inspire others to do the same. And discovering these things, developing them further, doesn’t have to be an incredibly complicated process. Consider these steps as you engage in the process, and remember to enlist others to help you in the journey:
- Consider what you want to convey – Being self-aware of your strengths, weaknesses and overall personality is mission critical to building your leadership image. Talk to others, work with a coach, utilize assessments…whatever it takes to understand how you show up – and then identify the gaps to where you need to be.
- Pay attention to others – We all know individuals that stand out as authentic and effective leaders. Pay attention to the way they show up – how do they communicate and connect with others, what is their approach to working through complex or difficult situations – and then apply those learning moments to develop your leadership competencies. Learn from others – what’s working and what’s not working – to further develop our own approach.
- Focus on the group – Effective leaders are just as focused on the team as they are on themselves. They are genuinely interested in the development and motivation of their team members so that everyone is showing up at their best to achieve collective goals.
- Practice, practice, practice – Be specific! Once you’ve identified a leadership development issue, consider ways to improve and set specific steps and timeframes to reach your goals. Finally, hold yourself accountable to your own growth – accountability is after all, a critical aspect to authentic leadership!
Written by Shalyn Eyer