Today I will give you a tool. It is a simple exercise to help you create your own theory and strategy for becoming a better leader.
I was working with some senior doctors in a large medical school. I gave them a few exercises to do and put them into breakout groups. One challenge was to identify the difference between good and great leaders in medicine. They were to examine their own experience, select one such person, describe the person to the others in their group, and then find the commonalities across the great leaders. When we debriefed they were full of energy. Just talking about the great leaders inspired them.
Every group produced overlapping themes. The themes resembled the themes produced by other groups in other industries. In the table below, I sort the statements into four categories. The categories are from research. We know there are four variables that predict transformational impact. Instead of giving you the technical names for each variable, I would like you to do the following.
- Examine each box and give it a name that makes sense to you.
- Examine your four, named variables, and ask yourself if you believe they are important?
- Develop a practical strategy for improving yourself on each variable.
|They were not about themselves
They were out to create good
They lived from a higher purpose
They had humility
They transcended ego
They gave away the credit
They radiated integrity
They were authentic
They accessed their entire being
They had credibility
You wanted to emulate them
|They could see the big picture
They could communicate the big picture
They could think 180 degrees off center
Committed to inspiring the next generation
They provided motivation
They could effect change
Could inspire change from the bottom-up
|Gave you their full attention
Made meaningful connections
Held great conversations
They expressed feelings
They acted more like a friend than a boss
Protected you when you needed it
Surfaced and addressed conflicts
|Expected people to think for themselves
Nurtured growth and independence
- Why are the lists similar across industries?
- What is possible value in doing the personal exercise?
- What would happen if everyone in your organization did this exercise?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?