Leading From Who You Are

Sometimes, students will ask me, “What do I have to DO to be a leader?”

As we talk about the different types of activities and skills and situational responses a person may have that demonstrates their leadership ability, I’ll say there’s probably another question that they should answer first:

What kind of person do I have to BE in order to lead?

This isn’t a new idea. I remember a presentation from Zig Ziglar where he spoke about BEing always preceded DOing. In fact, our DOing flows out of our BEing.

I put together a simple diagram that helps me to convey this idea.

I believe leadership starts as an inside job – we will lead from who we are. Like ripples in a pond, who we are will impact the kinds of action we take. I know we might be able to fool some people and do things that look like we’re a certain kind of person when we really aren’t. But that lack of intergrity will show itself through over time.

It is our actions that will have an effect on those around us. That’s where people begin to identify and sense your leadership – you’re willing to act in a way that has an effect on people or on a situation.

I’m not sure the process is always linear in the sense that I’ve diagrammed it here. There isn’t some neat and tidy formula to this whole thing. But there is a relationship between who we are (core), what we do (action), and how this impacts others (effect).

What do you think?

In regards to leadership, is one of these three more important than the others?

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  1. Great post, Tim, everything begins from the inside, where we have the power and the influence to change ourselves, if we have the courage to do so. And if we listen to who we really are, we already know what we need to do. The hardest part is believing it, so that we act on it.

  2. Very insightful. I'm so glad you wrote this. So often we forget the fact that actions start in the mind. I'll be tweeting this one as well.

    1. Author

      So glad you found this helpful (just like I did). It's amazing how much who we are shows through in our actions. This is why I encourage our student leaders to develop from the inside out. Blessings to you!

  3. Author

    Thanks Heather. I just went in and tried to post this to the Discussion board of LeadSwag but it kept giving me an error. I guess I'm still on probation with the group and haven't reached "SwagDaddy" status yet 🙂

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