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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