“Leadership” is an overused word that may seem arbitrary to most people. In the workplace the term itself becomes obscure when muddled with management training, as leadership and management pertain to traits that actually have little to do with each other…
Instead of looking to reference books for definitions on what leadership actually is and how we can “fit” into the accepted leadership styles, we should turn our gaze inward and examine the inner traits we possess as individuals. Once we understand who we really are we can begin to develop the sides of our personality that make us great leaders.
We all know the importance of “Being Positive” or having a “Can-Do Attitude”. But how many of us truly understand the actual psychological mechanics of these statements and how they apply to leadership? True positivity is an elixir for the inner leader, but it is not achieved by feigning a chipper disposition if we are not leading in a way that fulfills us. On the contrary—attempting to act out a leadership style that is contrary to our natural preferences while forcing a positive attitude can actually focus energy towards the friction caused by that misalignment and not towards the desired result.
So, how do we achieve a positive, productive and natural leadership style that encourages our followers to believe in our authenticity and have confidence in our agenda? Well, first and foremost we need to understand who we really are. Like really. Not the title we carry at work, or the order we rank in our sibling hierarchy. Not the father, daughter, mother, son we are at home, or the volunteer we are on one of the many extracurricular boards we’re members of (though these are all important facets of our ‘whole’). I mean who we truly are deep inside.
According to Jungian psychology, there are certain traits we possess inherently. These are referred to as our ‘preferences’. We can uncover these through personality assessments, but to be truly informative that needs to be paired with learning. I cannot stress this enough: it is crucial that we study what the results of personality assessments actually mean and how we can apply them practically in our life. The Buzzfeed style assessments that go viral on social media can tell us what ‘Superhero’ we would be or what our vocation might be in the afterlife, and similarly the respected and well established Myers Briggs (MBTI) assessment tool can reveal what is known as our ‘TYPE’. But this information will not pull us into expansion or attract the successes we are yearning for unless we really examine what these preferences truly say about us. Like truly.
My husband is an expert MBTI practitioner and he never uses the tool or attempts to ‘read’ people’s personality TYPE unless he has the opportunity to really sit down with them to explore the meaning of the way they work. Great thought leaders across the ages have done much to educate on thought patterns and the power of positivity, but they have not so far given much energy towards how this learning affects different personality types differently. A deep thinker will react very differently to exercises in consciousness than a deep feeler, and to effectively develop our higher faculties we MUST be cognizant of how we operate as individuals.
Learn about yourself and how you work. Learn how you function in groups, and understand deeply how you function when alone. Acknowledge how you make decisions, and how you take in information, and accept the way you organize yourself to the world around you.
When we can do this we can become leaders. We can become moral and ethical leaders who people will support and work hard for. The projects we work on become easier and less stressful because we play to our strengths and attract team members who complement. We stop trying to improve on our weaknesses and instead start acing our strengths. The key to being a great leader is not knowing everything about everything, but playing to your strength and supplementing with powerful team members who know exactly what their strengths are too. Leaders surround themselves with great teams, and great teams follow great leaders. Be a great leader, not only for your business but for your life!
When you go to the gym and work your body you expect results and more often than not they appear. This is the same process for your inner self. Introspection should be a bit painful if done correctly—nobody likes confronting their demons, but trust me, everyone has them! But once the process has begun we find ourselves more authentic, more powerful, and much more at peace.
When we understand our own innate traits our thoughts will be focused on our skills and strengths, not on our shortcomings. In turn, our actions become efficient and precise, and our teams will deliver over and over again because they trust us and our decisions.
If you can do this you can lead a company, a family, a team, or an entrepreneurial endeavor into greatness. This is why I’ve partnered with my husband to deliver “Think Like a Leader”, an immersive training event in Sarasota Florida that will really dig deep into who we are, why we think, act and feel the way we do, and how to be the best leader we can be.