How to choose your leadership-identity
I’m soon to be a grandfather for the fourth time. The first three grandchildren called me Poppi but that’s been shortened to pop. I’ve intentionally chosen my Pop identity.
I’m the wacky, fun pop. I’m the pop who turns all the lights off and says let’s play hide and seek with flash lights. I’m the guy who rubs growing powder on kids and they instantly grow half an inch.
There’s truth in “You are what you do.” Behaviors make us. You could also say, “do what you want to become”. Choosing who you want to become in the future directs, enables, and energizes what you do in the present.
Choose who you want to be
You can choose your leadership-identity. By nature I’m pessimistic; by choice I’m optimistic. I frequently speak otherwise by choosing language opposite my natural inclination.
Two determining factors
First, choose a leadership-identity that aligns with your vision for yourself. Talents, personality, knowledge, and experience are factors; however let vision determine your direction.
Second, choose the perceptions you want to produce and then emphasize corresponding behaviors.
Is it hypocrisy
Is it hypocritical to choose optimism when I’m a pessimist? No.
Its hypocrisy when I pretend I’m not who I am. Since you know my leaning toward pessimism and my intention toward optimism, I’m not a hypocrite.
Chose behaviors that enhance your effectiveness and reflect who you’re becoming.
I love the idea of leading in alignment with who I am. Leadership is a matter of how to be. I also love the idea of becoming the leader I want to be.
What vision have you chosen for your leadership identity?
“I chose behaviors that enhance my effectiveness and reflect who I am becoming; even if the pessimist in me says I’ll never become it.”
And hopefully by choosing the path to better effectiveness, I will along the way, learn to be more optimistic, and more balanced and realistic in my outlook.
Nicely said Martina. Cheers
Currently i am appreciating the idea that everyone can be a good leader and manager, all they need is determination toward achieving their personal and institutional vision, and evaluating performance according to progress in achieving objectives that contributes to the vision, also adjusting how valid their vision is, consulting others, learning new ways, trying new approaches, at the end of the day they can always adjust behavior according to results.
I found it very difficult and ineffective to have unrealistic vision for one’s leadership identity that is very different from him/her, why caring to have someone’s else identity when everybody has unique set of talents and he/she can deploy to achieve results he/she sets for him/herself.
This is only an idea, i appreciate your comment on it along with Dan useful and provoking post,
I have chosen to be optimistic even in worst situation for my leadership identity. To achieve that identity, I always find ways to materialise my vision. And when I find the ways, I follow the path with passion, determination and greater hope. Hope is something that makes me move forward towards my vision.
I look around and try to evaluate my potentials and capabilities. I also try to change, modify and learn new ideas and tacts. I also compare my position with my capabilities and that is great source of inspiration for me. When I find myself better than my position, I work harder and that is the way I go ahead in my life
Hi Dan. Some this are hard to articulate, and I would put this in that category. At the end of the day, my big thing is after having had any form of interaction with somebody, I leave them feeling better than I found them. Have I helped you realise how much more you have going for you? Have I made you realise how much you have done? Have I made you realise how much more you have to offer? What’s the art of the possible at the end of the day? We all know these things, but sometimes you get lost in the noise, and you need someone else to help you remember.
Hi Dan. First congrats on being a grandfather for the fourth time. It is a totally different experience. Like Ajay I like to think of myself as an optimist. Having misgivings (pessimism) about a particular project will happen of course and those bumps are signals us to adjust. I find if I keep reality in check and passion fired up results occur beyond expectations. Leaving my ego on the pillow when I get up frees me to explore so many more possibilities.The eternal optimist can get flustered but always manages to see beyond and with the end in mind uses obstacles to strengthen his/her resolve. The eternal optimist is the little boy that gets a box of manure for his birthday and incessantly grapples through his “gift” yelling “where there is dung there must be a pony!” 🙂 Not sure my optimism goes that far but I am willing to listen. )
Excellent post, Dan! Yes, leaders need not only the self-awareness that stems from appreciation of their “story” and knowledge of their character (strengths and shadows,) but a clear picture of who they want to be and where they want to go; In my new book I call what you write about here who we are in the “future perfect tense.” You and readers can learn more about my book at: http://tinyurl.com/2e3yvny
“…There’s truth in “You are what you do.” Behaviors make us. You could also say, “do what you want to become”. Choosing who you want to become in the future directs, enables, and energizes what you do in the present..”
A pretty practical and a profound mantra to act, regarrdless of where we are now!
I love your posts Dan, they are always though provoking.
First we can choose who we want to BE. By BE I mean how do I want to experience myself and have other experience me? Am I behaving the way I really want to? I have shifted from a woman who needed to be in control of everything, type A personality, to a woman who embraces the uncertainty of life and is at ease taking risks and being vulnerable. I now show up with love in my heart rather than concern for how people will perceive me.
Second we can set an intention for the experience that we want to have in life/business and how we want to feel. I have worked to shift who I am being to be in alignment with the experience I want to have in life and how I want to feel.
The easiest way to make a permanent shift from pessimist to optimist, in your case, is to drop off our emotional baggage. The emotional baggage is what keeps us defaulting to the pessimist position rather than optimist. When I dropped off my baggage it became easy to BE who I wanted to be. It use to be hard to drop of our baggage, but I have learned a way to do it that is easy.
Congratulations Dan on becoming a Granddad again. It will keep you young. One of the reasons I love your blogposts is because they help me check myself and become a better person. Am an optimist turned pessimist who is trying to get back to being an optimist. Its important for me to monitor my thoughts, habits and actions so that I dont slide back that slippery slope. I identify with what your saying, it is true.
I can relate to your dual identity scenario… I am an introvert that has been leading sales teams at large companies and now my at my Sale and Marketing firm for my entire career. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them that I am actually shy, because I have had to create a separate persona in order to inspire my employees and customers alike. It is easy for me to flip the switch and become more outgoing, but I do have to flip a switch. As you point out, it is okay to be what you want to be even if its not who we naturally are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Very encouraging – I can choose my leadership-identity, even against my nature!
I am starting a new job tomorrow, after looking for SIX years, first as a 55 y/o now (do the math). I am reading posts that I missed while trying to secure this position and gathering strength to rev up the engine. I feel like a kid going to my first day at school.
That is great news. Good luck and have fun! Congratulations on your new job “stay Golden” Chavah! 🙂
I’m the “Queen of the Zipline.” In a paradigm-shifting experience last fall, after losing 150 pounds and gaining new strength and fitness, I dared to ride a zipline out over the ocean in Mexico. The vitality, risk, reward, fun, adventure, and sense of “I can do anything now” is an experience that has become part of me in a powerful way.
When the Queen of the Zipline shows up, watch out world!
Actually, behaviors can be check after experiencing the results and evaluating this results. Furthermore, i would like to add that we can do what we love but we must love what we do..
Love this line: “I chose behaviors that enhance my effectiveness and reflect who I am becoming…” Our choices determine the direction we walk and therefore the person who we become!
One other thought. What we believe in is evidenced by how we live, not just by what we say. The more we live out what we say we believe, the more we become what we say we believe.
Keep living and leading it forward, Dan!