15 Powerful Shifts that Transform Leadership
Know-it-alls are completely predictable. They don’t change. Those who already know never develop new skills, embrace new ways of thinking, or grow as leaders.
Everyone who grows changes.
Everyone who changes behaves differently today from yesterday.
Belief that we will change in the future produces humility today.
The danger of real learning is it can’t be isolated. It changes things. Learning and adopting a strength-based approach to leadership, for example, infiltrates nearly all of organizational life.
Learning validates some behaviors and debunks others. In other words, leaders who grow change the way they lead. What was “right” yesterday ends up “wrong” tomorrow.
15 shifts in thinking:
Here are some shifts leaders commonly experience.
I used to think leadership was about ______, now I think it’s about ________.
- What you did; who you are.
- Power; integrity.
- Data; culture.
- Me; us.
- Telling; showing.
- Knowledge; wisdom.
- Bossing; serving.
- Power; humility.
- Managing; inspiring.
- Authority; love.
- My skill; their development.
- Position; mission.
- Government; community.
- Instructing; constructing.
- Telling; listening.
See the entire list on Facebook.
Two personal shifts:
My biggest shift in thinking centers on development. The leaders priority is self-development. You inevitably fall short if you don’t develop yourself. I’m not endorsing selfish, self-indulgent living.
The point of self-development is effective service.
The second shift in thinking is from getting things done myself to developing people who get things done.
Press though anyway:
If change means what was “right” today may be “wrong” tomorrow, what’s a leader to do. There is only one answer. Move forward on your highest point of confidence with humility. Realize you may learn something tomorrow that changes you. I hope so.
The danger of investing in today’s knowledge is the need to defend it tomorrow.
What shifts in thinking have changed your leadership?
A really good point. As a coach, I was once asked by a student-athlete if I was sure that a skill I was teaching was absolutely the right way to do it. I replied that I was certain that it was absolutely the best way that I know how to do it right now. Even if our understanding/perspective in the future changes (and we know it will), we can’t allow that knowledge to make us passive or tentative right now. At the same time, we can’t allow insecurity to make us assert we’ve learned all we will learn. Paradoxical? Yes. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” (Fitzgerald)
Thanks JC. Beautifully said! I’m so glad you stopped in today.
Dan, I totally agree to your post. I used to think leadership was about making more followers, now I think it’s about making more leaders. A good leader enables others to be a leader than a follower.
Thanks Abraham. What a powerful shift in thinking. Everything changes when leadership becomes about making leaders.
Well stated. Insightful.
Share your knowledge so the others will grow, too many people fear to loose their jobs if they share their knowledge, sometimes this happens as the student/worker surpasses the mentor, but more often the Leadership role grows for the mentor as others around them start to see their expertise and seek guidance rather than their Leadership role.
Thanks Tim. You observation is too true. I’ve seen people act in self-protective ways. I’ve also seen situations where openness harmed someone’s career. That’s an organizational issue. Once leaders punish openness, everyone closes down. Who wins then?
There is some wonderful insight shared here.
And I hope to never become concerned or afraid that a student/worker may surpass me. If their dreams and abilities mean they can surpass me and have more impact, then I sincerely want them to. I want to help them get there and beyond, whether it’s from development or simply from helping with their self belief.
I love helping others achieve their very best and to strengthen their self belief/confidence too. I’ll share and coach along the way, which also helps me learn too. Then when they pass me by, I’ll give my congratulations and keep sharing and coaching with them and others the same, continuing to learn all along the way.
Giving, sharing and learning are part of a great circle that never ends. Everyone involved benefits from this.
Those who keep their knowledge to themselves out of fear or from thinking they are to superior to listen (or whatever holds them back) have no idea of what enrichment and growth they’re missing.
Mine actually is what I am trying to do personally and what I work to help others do: moving from Knowing to Doing. Many of what you listed help facilitate that goal. I’d add one more to your list, Power to Empower. And to go along with my first thought, shifting our thinking must be followed by shifting our behaviors.
Thanks Vicki. Well said. Compared to knowing, doing is a horse of a different color!
Wow, Dan! Well said! My journey to leadership is the same as my journey to being fully human. Both are one. Humility authentically matched with relentless persistence to service to a higher goal that engages, inspires, & motivates others to organize, strategize, & transform themselves & others. TOGETHER every ONE of US transforms our world. WE are the ONE we’ve been waiting for!
Thanks Paul. You are nailing it. Warren Bennis said that becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming ourselves…. KaPow
Hi Paul and Dan,
@Dan: the juxtapositioning of concepts in your post makes it vivid.
@Paul: really appreciate your perspective. Reminds me of the African term, UBUNTU: “I am because we are.” It says we co-construct our realities, we are co-responsible, and we’re in this together. It’s up to us to make it work!
@Robyn: Interesting that you mention “ubuntu.” I use that in my community organizing work and nonviolence training. I agree with whole heart when you wrote, “It says we co-construct our realities, we are co-responsible, and we’re in this together. It’s up to us to make it work!.” WE (you and I) are on the path.
How do leaders get hired nowadays? I remember in university, I switched from sciences to engineering and the Dean of Engineering had to sign my transfer papers. He told me “I hope you’re not a drifter.” Does curiosity about a lot of things means I’m a drifter? Does always striving for different ideas and viewpoints mean I was a drifter? Perhaps, from his viewpoint, I was a drifter. Society also downplays people with an open minds that like to explore … if you switch jobs too much … uh oh … you will have a nasty label applied to you. So I have “drifted” through many incarnations of interests. The result? Many valuable experiences of different perspectives that are like GOLD when moving forward as a learning leader. I see my career as a tree growing constantly … not a defined static box where I can only add so many skills to. I have my core beliefs and skills … like roots that secure my tree. But I grow branches every year; branches of interests and exploration. I am not static. I grow all the time. I may look the same now but come back in a year and I will be a different person with new perspectives and viewpoints … like new branches. Back to where I started … how do “learning leaders” get hired nowadays? Society is glacial when it comes to changing its stereotypical viewpoint on things. Being a drifter or you have many skills and therefore “master of none”( which is not true for everyone – I’m master of many), is the prevailing thought out in the real world. Hiring learning leaders requires a rare open minding HR person to overcomes the normal biases in today work world.
Good reframes. I ought to build a Square Wheels LEGO image around that set of things.
A LOT of this is around the issue of perspective and stepping back, once in a while, from the wagon.
Higher Inspiration – inner wisdom (the conscience)
– The light in us …
Self-knowledge and develop – I like it
In addition to the understanding, knowledge and wisdom –
is the growth satisfies a primal necessity, curiosity!
I find the question fascinating: How am I? –
rather than: Who I am?
Self-responsibility, justice, truth and wisdom –
these are great words (words are powerful)
but … they are also sometimes like to abused!
<3 Knowledge alone is the sacred insight.
Joy is. Beate
I like free thinkers
I like Dan´s inspirations 😉
I like the old philosophers!
"Cui bono?" (english: "Who benefits?")
– Cassius, according to Cicero, Philippic II, XIV, 35
Just a little Friday Joke – for you Dan:
The head is round – so that thoughts can move
and they can change direction! 😉
I reminds me of exciting statements of my favorite philosophers
– I find it inspiring and fit in both senses of the subject – Leadership:
Run with high ideals.
“The only constant is change!”
… free after Heraklit von Ephesus (540 – 480 v. Chr.)
“Corruptio optimi pessima.” <3
(english: "The degeneration of the best leads for the worst.")
– by Gregorius Magnus
"Decipimur specie recti."
(english "We deceive ourselves by the glow of rights.")
– Horace, De arte poetica, 25
"Do, ut des." (english: ".I give – that you may give")
– ancient Roman law formula, quoted in Hugo Grotius
"De jure belli ac pacis libri tres"
It is interesting – that we repeatedly – apparently for thousands of years
– with the same laws of thought and action be confronted.
"What is a gift?"
Make sure – when you give, you give like that it comes from the heart,
because only then it is truly a gift.
What You give me – You give yourself …
And what you prevent, can You yourself do not receive – not enjoy!
Give – what you want – with love – and in peace!
Hope you enjoy it.
Finally, as it can otherwise be a new haiku
The Will moves!
b.f. 2014 – Who can open – can receive = Divine Flow!
Knowledge is power…. or this is the case most poeple would have us belive. By holding onto knowledge you weaken those around you and therefroe load yourself up with more responibility and accountabilty….. Knowlegde can be powerful but knowing how to rebuild a V8 engine while working in a super market becuase your business shut down due to lack of knowledge sharing….. what is gained in not sharing. I am strong we are stronger…..
i really like the shift in the new leaders …me to be rebuilt as “US”
Personal promotion; organization mission
Thanks for an enlightening post.