A New Chapter for Every Leader’s Journey
A coaching client suggested another chapter after reading “The Six Chapters of Every Leader’s Journey.”
The six chapters in the leader’s journey:
- Believe you can make a difference.
- Engage in leading.
- Learn leadership skills and behaviors.
- Respond to adversity and disappointment with openness and resolve.
Belief (#1) is the beginning of leadership.
Learn about leadership (#3) AS you lead (#2). Learn to lead by leading. Theory and technique matter most when you’re engaged in leading.
Humility (#5) and kindness (#6) are learned in adversity (#4).
Hard-hearted leaders fail to learn from the fires of leadership. Unkind leaders have grown cold and bitter during disappointment and adversity.
A coaching client wrote:
“I think people hear the word “leadership” in today’s society and there is an unwritten expectation that everyone jump on board and become a better leader. But rarely do they ever consider WHY they want to be one.”
She continued, “[When] chapter #4 – adversity – hits or some other crisis of faith or conscience … they lose their way because they never really understood the purpose of leadership as it pertains specifically to them.”
A reason to lead fuels desire to lead.
Purpose goes hand-in-hand with believing you can make a difference (#1).
You may not, at the beginning of your journey, fully appreciate the purpose that fuels your desire to lead. All you know is you want to make a difference.
- Purpose enables grit when adversity hits.
- Purpose guides in a world filled with options.
- Purpose protects when cutting corners seems attractive.
Don’t wait for perfect clarity about purpose. Go make a difference. Purpose grows clear AS you make a difference, not before.
- Listen to frustration. Purpose often lies behind irritation.
- What’s happening when your energy goes up?
- Keep asking yourself what matters. Explore why it matters.
What others chapters need to be added to The Six Chapters of the Leader’s Journey?
I do agree with the addition of purpose. It reminds me of the Simon Sinek desire the start with why in business, but with leadership I think the order is slightly changed. Start with the interest and desire to make a difference and make things better. It’s how you gain initial experience of leadership. To ensure you can survive the adversity and failures you then need to ascertain your purpose or why you lead. This simple frame of reference has assisted me in many crisis to reflect on my purpose as leader … enabling me to rise above the tendency to react to crisi and instead assess, plan and move through them.
Thanks Rob. The idea of “Not reacting but assessing” during a crisis is so powerful to me. I can think of questions like:
What am I all about?
What does my best self suggest?
How does this situation provide an opportunity for me to fulfill my purpose?
Purpose reflects the choices in leadership behaviours, this can be positive or negative depending on the mind set at the time.
Thanks Gerry. I’m not following? Regards
Maybe I should say purpose determines leadership behaviours.
Ahhh… got it.
It wasn’t always so evident for me just as it may be for most novice leaders, but I have endured many life challenges. Many times, I’ve asked “why me?,” just as people do. It’s clear to me now that overcoming my own obstacles have made me a better leader. I would even venture further to say, I went through those obstacles to serve a distant purpose.
As adults, we have the tendency to warn youth about the dangers of life, but if it weren’t for our own foolish experiences and mishaps, we wouldn’t have the unique perspectives we do now. Warning is good, but guidance is better.
Now, when I help a young man/woman through a difficult time and he/she feels like giving up, I ask them to search into the future dimension by telling them that someday, you will inspire someone you love to never give up and they won’t give up because you made it through your troubles right now. Your story will inspire others. That makes you a leader.
Thanks Brad. Powerful!
It helps to believe that adversity, when we press through it, helps us become who we could be. It’s just difficult to see beyond the fire when you’re in the middle of the fire.
You remind me that over-protecting people doesn’t serve them well. Of course we don’t want harm. But many difficulties expand our capacity to serve others.
I read this posting and could not keep myself from replacing the word “leader” with “team” or “teammate” as I went through it. The best leader is also a great teammate and within outstanding teams there are opportunities where excellent leaders can identify and encourage teammates to lead in specific ways. This provides sweet avenues to help people grow and to challenge one’s own leadership abilities.
Thanks for the post that got me thinking along a new avenue.