Volume 124, May 2013: Being a Better You

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2013 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Change – real change – comes from the inside out. It doesn’t come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root ’ the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world.” – Stephen R. Covey

Many of my clients sought models of leadership that could be used as a guide to growing their organization and fostering leadership. Some of their models included behavioral approaches, trait theories, situational leadership, management-by-objective, getting degrees like MBA’s, military approaches, or scientific management approaches, led by folk heroes like Lee Iacocca, Ken Blanchard, or Tom Peters. Stephen Covey called these “Cult of Personality Techniques,” representing individualistic, charismatic, non-systems thinking approaches. Two assumptions of these approaches are: (1) if I copy this it will work for me, too, and (2) it is possible to make leaders from the outside-in.

When whatever model of rah-rah, T-shirts and reward systems does not match your personal mindset – your mental model of management and people – your behavior is perceived as manipulative and fraudulent, marked by duplicity and insincerity. Leaders try it for a while, and find it hokey, then drop it out of their repertoire.

The point is not to become a leader, but to become more fully yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts, and energies. This is not just acquiring skill sets or following formulae, recipes, checklists or advice. The process of becoming a leader is the process of becoming an integrated human being. Each of us contains the capacity for leadership.

Leaders need a model and indeed they have an implicit one. Hold up the mirror and engage others in dialogue about your improvement. Ask for feedback from your followers. In this way, leaders can discover who they are and how to deploy strengths and offset weaknesses.

Practice Point

Develop your own leadership model, by reflecting on a leader who has helped you most in your career. This real-life role model typically looks more like a coach, a visionary, a mentor, a teacher/learner, or a steward who was a compassionate, caring helper. This exercise helps us realize that all of us possess some of these qualities. Develop an Action Plan to emphasize your strengths and shore up areas of opportunity.


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