This is my third and final post in the mini-series about management and leadership. In addition to this post, the series include: Management Is Not Leadership and Me-Dership Is Not Leadership Either – A Critical Lens On Idealised Leadership.
The Pitfall of Imitation
Many aspiring leaders fall into the trap of trying to replicate the success stories of renowned leaders. While it’s beneficial to draw inspiration from accomplished figures, it’s crucial to remember that what works for one leader may not necessarily work for another. Copying someone else’s leadership style often leads to inauthenticity, disconnection from your team, and the potential for failure.
Your Leadership Style – A Reflection of Your Values
Your leadership style should not just be a reflection of your skills but also an embodiment of your core values, beliefs, and principles. It should resonate with who you are as a person. By aligning your leadership with your personal values, you can lead with authenticity and conviction, which in turn garners trust and respect from your team.
Your values are the compass that guides your actions, decisions, and interactions as a leader. When you act in alignment with your personal values, you experience a sense of fulfilment and purpose. However, if you deviate from these values, you can find yourself in distress, and in extreme cases, on the path to burnout.
Twenty years ago, I had a personal experience that vividly illustrated the importance of aligning leadership with personal values. At the time, I had inadvertently strayed from my own values in an attempt to mimic the expected management style in my company. The result was a growing sense of dissonance and distress within me. It became increasingly clear that trying to lead in a way that did not resonate with my values was unsustainable.
This journey of misalignment with my values led to burnout. I was constantly stressed, anxious, and felt disconnected from my team. It became evident that I couldn’t keep up this facade for long without detrimental consequences to my well-being and leadership effectiveness.
Building on Your Own Strengths
Rather than trying to reshape yourself entirely as a leader, it’s more effective to build upon your existing strengths. Identify what you’re already doing well as a leader and focus on enhancing those attributes. This not only increases your effectiveness but also maintains your authenticity.
A valuable tool in this journey is the Reflected Best Self exercise, a 360-degree assessment that allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your leadership skills. This exercise enables you to collect feedback from peers, colleagues, and subordinates, shedding light on your strengths and areas for improvement.
Get Our Reflected Best Self Exercise Guide
Fill the embedded form above and embark on the journey to discovering your unique leadership style. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the exercise and interpret the results.
The Power of Values-Driven Leadership
Reconnecting with my values allowed me to regain my footing as a leader. It was a turning point in my career. I began to lead in a way that felt authentic and true to myself. This change not only brought a sense of purpose and fulfilment but also strengthened my relationship with my team and improved my leadership outcomes.
Crafting Your Leadership Identity
In your quest for effective leadership, remember that imitation is not the path to success. Developing your unique leadership style, anchored in your values, and amplified by your existing strengths, is the key. You so to speak become master in your own house. Use the Reflected Best Self exercise as a starting point to gain insights into your leadership skills and build a leadership style that is uniquely yours. Your authenticity as a leader will not only benefit you but also inspire and motivate those you lead.
In conclusion, remember that your leadership style should always align with your personal values. Deviating from your values can lead to distress and burnout, as my personal experience two decades ago exemplified. Embrace your values, build on your strengths, and utilise tools like the Reflected Best Self exercise to craft a leadership style that is uniquely yours, authentic, and enduring.