Chances are you don’t need encouragement to try harder and reach higher. It’s in your nature. That’s one reason you’re reading this blog.
Today, try less – “be” more
Yesterday, I mentioned Frances Hesselbein’s 12 word definition of leadership. “Leadership is a matter of how to be not how to do.”
Not rejecting techniques
Saying, “Leadership is a matter of how to be not how to do,” is not a blanket exclusion of leadership development. Developing skills is an expression of you.
If the skills you are developing don’t express who you are, you are a manipulator. If the methods you employ and skills you are learning are consistent with who you are, you are authentic.
“Being” a leader is not about sitting under a tree contemplating the meaning of your navel. It’s about confidence in the person you have become. Joy in the person you are becoming today and hope about future effectiveness and influence.
Expressing leadership in terms of behaviors is essential. However, the other side of leadership is the person behind the behaviors. You’ll have less stress and more confidence if you learn how to “be.”
Today, try less and “be” more.
What keeps leaders from “being” leaders?
What can you suggest that might help leaders try less and “be” more?
I love that word – authentic – and the notion of how to be, not how to do! The series of posts related to Frances have reaffirmed my belief in my philosophy and approach! Thanks
I believe that leadership with compassion is often the most successful kind. By that, I mean compassion for those whom one leads and for one’s self too. Authority and flexibility work very well together. A corollary to “how to be not how to do” is “how we do what we do”. To me this is one very clear and inclusive definition of etiquette. Etiquette is the example we set from moment to moment. We look to trusted leaders for those examples and value them as acceptable behavior. Therefore, leadership is a responsibility and as such is enriched with an abundance of compassion.
Being at peace with the knowledge that there is nothing new under the sun helps me to not get caught up in trying to become the next [insert great Leader]. I can be me and borrow from other great leaders to help mold me into the kind leader that helps me lead best.
There’s a fine line there though. I struggle at times with becoming a chameleon of certain leadership styles and losing myself in that impersonation. That leads to being the manipulator that you mentioned.
I am very anxious to hear from other readers on how they deal with this pressure. Thanks for keeping your finger on the pulse of what makes us tick.
The motto of my alma mater (Trevecca Nazarene University) and North Carolina: Esse Quam Verdi- “To Be Rather Than to Seem”
In response to Van’s thoughtful words, I am just now beginning to realize that being the best puts much more pressure on me than being one of the best or simply put, ‘an’ authority as opposed to ‘the’ authority. I disagree with the idea of “nothing new under the sun” only to the extent that everything we do is a unique expression of ourselves and therefore “new”. I deal with the pressure by reminding myself to let things go and to be more accepting and compassionate. By releasing control in this way, we are more grateful for what we have and less anxious to change things to fit our sometimes unreasonably narrow definition of success. Respectfully, Jay
Great post. I think to the extent we can just be ourselves, the people around us and jobs that attract us or employers that are attracted to us will be a good fit for the real us. The more we pretend, the more we move into areas that are artificial, and our own enjoyment of life is reduced. Sometimes part of being authentic is identifying where you don’t belong too, and which people you shouldn’t be trying to lead. I can give some examples of this if the point is interesting.
Amen! I always get in trouble when I try to be someone I’m not! We all need to learn to know and trust ourselves.
Fakers are manipulators and misleaders. And when they try to show that they are leaders, they deceive others as well as themselves. They are layered with fictitious masks that keep them from being leaders. So, You have rightly mentioned that ” Be authentic” and it is possible when you do not have layer or mask.
Your suggestion is perfect that might help leaders try less and be more, ” Be Authentic”. I would like to add some more dimenstion to this. Appear Authentic, Act Authentic.
I have devised a conceptual framework based on your suggestion about leader. ABCD of leadership. It means leader shoule be Authentic, When you are Authentic, it should reflect in your behaviour, When it will reflect in your behaviour, it creates Confidence among self and others and the outcome is Development of self and others. This is ABCD of Effective and Authentic Leadership.
Joy in my life! That’s where I start. I, quite frankly, like myself. With that as my beginning, it’s a comfortable path to want to be a better me. I am also aware that I am a choleric person. If I had my way, I’d always be in charge. However, I know that’s not possible, not practical and truly irritating to everyone who wants to be in charge. My goal is to grow, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, physically. (I’m also working on “shrinking” so there isn’t so much of me).
Learning to “be” may be the largest challenge that Leaders face.
LOVE today’s post, and yesterday’s. Francis is my new role model! 90+! Fabulous!!! You are always spot on.
Thanks a lot for the advice, it’s just what I needed to hear. Lately, I’ve been pre-occupied with my online presence and it is causing me to waste too much time that could be better spent at what I’m actually good at. All I need to do is work on it and have faith in it while having fun.
Great conversation! I think Frances’ intention in that quote is to help us give ourselves permission to be thoughtful about *how* we lead, not just *what* we do as leaders. One of the best pieces of adivce I ever got was from my 90-year-old aunt that in life we must strive to “be” as well as to “do” – to achieve healthy emotional balance, and to properly integrate all that we learn and to be our best for others. She said she remembers this balance by her mantra of do…be…do…be…do…or dobedobedo (sing along with me – she has a great sense of humor).
@Van – ensuring that you integrate the new leadership techniques and “flavors of the day” into who you already are, rather than just reflecting them as a mirror or applying them as a veneer.
@Ajay – love the ABCD approach.
According to your definition of authentic, I wonder Dan, how many authentic people have you met among all the leaders you have spoken to? And is there a common trait they all share?
“Being” takes a lot less effort and is more effective than “doing” any day. Great post.. true words. Thanks.
BE is my favorite word!
As a Transpersonal Life Coach, a large part of working with clients includes delving into who we are “being” each and every moment. We can become the watcher of who we are being as we lead, interact, share, teach, and inform.
I think that what keeps leaders from being leaders is that aren’t connected to themselves or they follow some other person’s or institution’s definition of leadership. When we discover more about ourselves we can lead from our essence, our unique sense of self, and redefine what leadership means to us. Once we integrate our unique leadership style into who we are being, so much more is possible.
…what keeps leaders from being leaders… needs close in inspection.
The implied definition of the word leaders are widely different.
The first, implies that the person is in a recognised position of leadershp.
The second, implies that in spite of that position, he is not behaving like a leader.
It should read, “Why do people in nominal leadership positions not provide leadership?”
Secondly, if a person is a leader, he or she is a leader.
Adding the word “potential” leader before the first usage could solve the problem
…what keeps “potential”leaders from being leaders…
The words ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ are so conmplex and diverse that it’s important to use them precisely and with care
All the best
Money! Leaders don’t make the money. Leaders modivate others to make the money. Therefore, leaders don’t get the credit, nor the money. So if you want to become a leader, don’t do it for money.
Thank you Dan SPOT ON, here we say ‘pile poil’ (peel pow al). That’s exactly it: TRY LESS!!! Thank you
Of course, it’s helps to know who you are :S When you don’t, being becomes quite a struggle.
Being “authentic” says it all…. When you see me, whether at home, work or play, I am the same person that you will deal with! Being true to self is at the heart of being authentic.
Thanks Lisa. Best, Dan
There are many gems in the world waiting to ‘be’ faceted so that they can clearly reflect the light.
I am neither better nor inferior to others. I am unique, so are you. That way we do not have to compete and be somebody else. We have control on what we do but not on the results. That should eliminate the fear of failure.If you do not have fear of failure, you have no pressure.
Thanks for your clear insightful comment.
If I believe that God delighted over my formation in the womb and He fearfully and wonderfully created me then my being me is the ultimate compliment that I can pay my Creator. This leads me to accept who I im in every situation because I further realise that God is not working on producing the circumstances that I want. He is busy in all situations to produce the me He created and that He wants. I don’t have to be a leader that influences and changes my situation or circumstance – I need only be the me that He wants.
This blog is right on target.