The end of the year is always the perfect moment to have a look back and get an in-depth audit on us. As related beings leaving in structured communities and making our influence rely on others promptitude to get inspired by us, leadership is a crucial trace to humankind. Core factor enabling the flourishment of human relations, leadership is vital in fast-changing and the all-reachable world where power, fame, and money are not anymore enough to adequately fill human hearts.
Developing leadership skills thus is critical no matter the position you hold in any provided structure. But definitions of leadership are still not concrete showing just its different faces adjusted to different environments or situation. So what is leadership then and how can we get it the right way?
What seems clear is that leadership is not just labor-market related. Encompassing a much broader sense that the company-oriented one, the concept is not just relaying in seniority or management as it goes further beyond the professional real reaching the personal, social, and even spiritual ones.
Leadership is neither mass related. The power of a single man action in a global world can quickly spread and become the sparkle of an all-burning fire. The strength of a leader is not measured anymore in relation just to the number of followers but on the meaning and power of each one of the actions that inspire.
Furthermore, leadership is not just profit related although it has been often confused with a benefit or productivity-driven element. While in different settings such as the business one, leadership should have an essential monetary results-orientation, profitability does not sufficiently help to define the core of the concept. Getting to the very bowels of ultimate human desires, happiness arises as the final ultimate goal to achieve. So the closer a leader move his followers to the achievement of their happy-ultimate aims, the stronger leadership influence we could affirm he is developing.
So what is leadership after all and how can we identify the symptoms of a modern leader?
Leadership has the common trace of making others voluntary follow for good as the result of positive influence over them. Voluntary, for good and positive influence, are the new elements arising in every definition of true leadership in the XXI century. If the following is not optional, then we speak about forced obedience. And if the influence is not positive or for good, the concept automatically transforms into dictatorial leadership or misleading role model. In a world when there is fast access to every single option or choice, just influence based on power or position is not enough anymore. Leadership responds now to a positive way of influence that helps others to fully develop and flourish by voluntarily choosing to follow.
Viktor E. Frankl describes very well how, between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response and in our response lies our growth and our freedom. Leaders are the nexus between the stimulus and the response. Just when the answer leads to the growth and freedom of the follower, we could actually speak about true positive leadership. Any other form of response is provoked by a different way if influence that cannot define what leadership is anymore.
Time to work now. With still a couple of weeks for reflection, there is enough time to go through these leadership questions, get honest answers and better prepare your positive footprint for 2019.
1. What was my set list of goals for 2018 and what were the reasons behind them?
The kind of goals you set up speak out about your preferred list of priorities. It is time to check whether you are embracing a holistic approach to life and leadership. Are you taking care of the full development of all the different spheres of complete personhood? Or you are instead focused on a concrete aspect overtaking your full time and energy?
The same way, the reasons behind your set up goals define your vision and motivation. To inspire for good, make sure that the ultimate rationale behind your objectives does not enter in contradiction with the ultimate purpose of the goal itself. If volunteering after a humanitarian disaster has just the hidden aim to bring more traction to your Instagram account, maybe some misleading logics are waiting to be re-organized.
2. Was I honest and truthful to myself?
To be a leader, start with yourself. Before you can lead other people, you have to learn how to drive yourself and adopt a values-based leadership model. We cannot give what we do not have, and we can not be who we are not. According to the leadership best-seller, Harry Kreamer, self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence and genuine humility are keystones to start with.
3. Was I fair and kind toward others?
Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” (Bob Kerrey)
Rising by lifting others is the only proven to work situation leading to an inclusive win-win model. Kindness is a simple, yet powerful way to build trust, relationships, and impact. As the balance between equality and equity, fairness represents an individualized treatment and care that ensures harmony between each one different particularity and needs and society as a whole. Kindness and fairness are well felt as two inspirational traces to follow with.
4. Did I achieve my goals? What have been my biggest lessons and why?
When accounting leadership levels, you should balance further from just success or failure stories. What you should be trying to evaluate from here is your personal take away from different events or occasions that left a footprint throughout your year. Learning from victories is powerful and rewarding. Learning from defeats is wise and transformative. These questions will encourage you to deep into your attitudes toward events. Positive and vibrant attitudes toward different circumstances lead to reliability, a core element of every influential positive leader.
5. Am I ready for the year to come?
Is there something I need to change to free my leadership aspirations from a utilitarian motivation? Do I have a clear vision of the role model I want to inspire? Am I able to conciliate my own benefit with a positive outcome for society and the world? 2019 will just happen once in a lifetime. Let’s make powerful use of it!
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