How to Show Up as Your Best Self Today

Leaders are too concerned about doing everything right.

Focus on showing up as your best self if you aspire to do things right.

Justifications for worst-self leadership:

#1. Burning hair.

You can’t bring your best self when everything’s a crisis and you’re perpetually over-committed.

Tips:

  1. Work on getting enough sleep.
  2. Practice breathing.
  3. Learn how to prioritize. (That’s code for saying no.)

#2. It’s not my fault.

Lousy leaders figure out who to blame if things go wrong. Evil leaders figure out who to blame BEFORE things go wrong.

Weasel-leaders put others in the spotlight when success is uncertain. But when uncertainty turns to certainty, weasel-leaders step from the shadows.

Tips:

  1. Adopt a growth mindset. Read, “Mindset,” by Carol Deweck.
  2. Ask, “What will we do differently next time?”
  3. Provide regular progress reports to higher ups.

#3. Poor me.

Short-sighted leaders justify half-heartedness with, “They don’t appreciate me.”

Don’t wait for a pat on the back to bring your best self to work.

Tips:

  1. Pat everyone on the back.
  2. Show gratitude everywhere you go.

#4. It’s not fair.

Generosity – met with stinginess – generates stinginess in half-hearted leaders.

Don’t let others control your life.

Tips:

  1. Never let the faults of others be an excuse for half-heartedness.
  2. An open hand takes you further than a closed fist.
  3. Read, “Give and Take,” by Adam Grant.

#5. Boo Who.  

Someone took advantage of you and you responded with self-protective half-heartedness. You can’t give half-hearted effort and expect whole-hearted results.

Tips:

  1. Draw a line in the sand and start again. Bitterness is a short-term strategy.
  2. Keep good records.

Best-self leadership:

Bring your best self because it’s who you are.

Frame the path forward through the lens of learning, not life or death.

Enthusiasm, curiosity, and optimism matter more than getting everything right, unless you’re a brain surgeon or an airline pilot.

How might leaders bring their best selves to imperfect organizations?

Bonus material:

5 Ways to Bring Your Best and Whole Self to Work (RBC)

How to Bring Your Whole Self to Work (Berkeley)

10 Ways to Bring Your Whole Self to Work, Even When You’re Having a Bad Day (Conscious Company)