I want to talk with you about the idea of a personal leadership revolution. But first, what do you think of when you hear the word “leader” or “leadership”? What images pop into your mind?
Do you assume it must be a manager or someone on the executive team? Do you have moments of thinking “someone in leadership needs to take care of that?” If you do, you’re not alone. A lot of people assume that the leader is the boss. Or, that leadership only happens in the workplace. Well, we’re here to help you rethink that position because leadership is for everyone. From lower-level employees to the CEO, each person plays an important role in creating a positive, productive workplace culture. But we want you to also consider how your actions affect your personal life as well. Being a leader in your whole life isn’t always easy but it can be done. So, I’d like to share the impact of choosing a path to personal leadership (at home and at work).
YOUR PATH TO A PERSONAL (R)EVOLUTION
At one point in my career, I realized my job performance and work/life balance were on the fritz. The culprit? My relationship with my manager. I was incredibly stressed out and constantly felt like I might get fired. Granted, a lot of that pressure was self-induced but I felt like my manager didn’t believe in me. And that stung. I knew I needed to do something but didn’t know where to start. Who should I talk to? How could I actually make a change? At 43 years old, I assumed my way of showing up in the world was pretty set so that didn’t make it easy when I realized that I needed to bring a different person to the table that connected with her in the way she needed. That was the crux. How do you shift who you’ve always been?
YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION….
That’s how the song goes, but I’m not sure that’s really what I was after. I just knew I didn’t want to get fired. I needed a better way of connecting with the person who would ultimately make that decision. But, was I actually ready to commit to showing up differently? I wasn’t sure, so I started slowly. I started by learning first about personalities. Who was I in our relationship? Who was she? What motivators and priorities were we both bringing to the table where our jobs were concerned? How was she perceiving me? This was a big one, because how we think we show up for others isn’t always what they actually experience. What were my strengths and weaknesses as compared to hers?
EMOTIONAL NEEDS ARE LIKE OXYGEN
From there, I learned about emotional needs. We all have them but depending on our natural wiring or our life experience, they may be different. So, what I needed in a given moment, isn’t what she likely needed. I realized that emotional needs are like oxygen.
Have you ever seen someone who has to be on oxygen? Maybe it was in the hospital or they carried around their own private little tank? Ever considered what would happen if you stepped on their line? Think the air flowing through that tube is a NEED or a WANT? Well, I assure you, it’s a need, and what I learned during this self-led leadership journey was that when it comes to emotional needs, they aren’t “nice to haves.” This might show up as a need for respect, a need for silence, a need for acceptance, or a need to feel like a valuable part of the team. We all have different needs. Taking the time to understand those needs can be the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic one.
NEXT LEVEL LEADERSHIP – IN AND OUT OF THE OFFICE
I read books like The Speed of Trust and The Magic of Thinking Big. I also read Launching a Leadership Revolution and Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life. These books helped me to look at the world through a different lens. It opened my eyes to the part I was playing in the breakdown of my relationship with this manager.
As my view of the world and how I fit in became more clear, my experience at work and at home shifted. Once I understood personalities, I looked at parenting differently because my personality was very different from my kid’s. This newfound knowledge even helped me shift interactions with my husband who shows up in the world a little more gently than I do. We learned to communicate in the way we each needed.
Two years into this experience, I began to really see some changes. Life became more balanced because the lens I looked through had changed dramatically and I was choosing to show up differently. Is that an evolution or a revolution? I’m not sure, but either way, it was a game-changer.
Maybe your situation just needs an evolution. A few tweaks here or there to upgrade the experience you’re currently having. OR, a full-on revolution is the only way to help you get to the other side. Either way, don’t just sit back and assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility. Stand up and take action today because someone is always watching. And they’re waiting to see whether or not it’s safe to get caught up in your current. Our challenge to you is this: be the change you want to see in the workplace by working on you. Personal leadership matters and it matters in your whole life.
POSITIVE ROLE MODELS IN LIFE AND LEADERSHIP
We’ve all seen positive role models as well as really bad ones. At the end of the day, good or bad, they are still leading others down a given path. With that in mind, I hope to inspire you to be a force for good and not just at work. As I’ve said, being a leader isn’t just for the office. As I’ve said, being a leader isn’t for just for the office.
How we choose to show up for others matters. So, in case you didn’t realize it when you’re standing in line at the grocery store – someone’s watching. When you snap your fingers to catch your waiter’s attention – someone saw it. Or, when you don’t get your way at your kid’s volleyball tournament. Ever throw a fit in front of the kids, forgetting you aren’t one of them? Yep, it’s those moments we have to be careful of. On the flip side, people are also watching when you pick up that $10 bill and run to catch the person who dropped it. Or, you buy the person in line behind you a coffee, just because. And the best part? When your kid sees you do it.
People are watching all the time so we have a choice of what we want them to see. Showing up as a leader in our lives isn’t that hard. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to see ourselves as leaders and much easier to slide into complacency. Or, maybe we just hope that the masks we now wear will hide our worst behaviors. Unfortunately – it just doesn’t work that way. Like it or not, our actions matter as much as our words.
If you need help on your path to becoming a leader in your whole life, we can help. We offer leadership development, emotional intelligence training, and 1:1 coaching. Call us to get started. After all, the Culture R(e)volution starts with you.