I just completed a leadership development program on the US East Coast. It was a joy to work with participants from many parts of the world, including the US, China, Colombia, Ireland, the UK, Russia, the Netherlands and India. I always leave these programs profoundly grateful that I have the opportunity to work with gifted leaders that want to make the world a better place.
In last week’s program we explored leadership styles and we looked at how leaders inspire us in very different ways. I was struck by the input from participants: they listed warmth, caring, courage, perseverance, sense of mission, edginess and much more … for a total of 60 traits and behaviors. (The photo in this post shows a small sample). How to make sense of such a rich list? It makes a mockery of formulaic approaches that attempt to distill the essence of leadership in a handful of guidelines.
As we explored the meaning of this list of inspiring leadership traits, the emerging consensus was that at the heart of all this is authenticity. We become more inspiring leaders by being, more fully, who we really are and by showing, more clearly, who we really are.
It is deeply meaningful to work with leaders to identify and address blind spots, uncover and eliminate confusion, and name and address fear. By doing so, we allow ourselves to be – more fully – who we really are. My thanks go to a wonderful group of participants who inspired me with their openness, their determination and their support for one another.