How Do You Walk in the World?
Did you leave a trail of kindness today? A wonderful phrase gifted years ago by a colleague, it has become a North Star for my life.
Unfortunately, my 25-year corporate career saw me mostly endure unkind leadership. Yet, those soul-wounding bosses also gave me my purpose. Their difficult lessons now embolden me to entrepreneurially transform the workplace.
Prepare! You’re about to be called to become a “beloved” personal leader.
Who Are You as a Personal Leader?
As you will soon see, personal leadership has nothing to do with your business, your entrepreneurial pursuits or your job description. You can be a CEO without acquiring followers. You can equally hold a non-managerial role and inspire everyone by walking your talk.
What creates the magic? The answer lies in your character, attitude and values. Position power doesn’t cut it. Personal power does. None of it has to do with title.
The Top Ten List
Here’s my invitation: Consider this Top Ten list as secrets for being an inspiring personal leader in life.
1) Outer transformation begins with your inner world.
Personal leaders demonstrate authenticity. They model sincerity. Openness is a necessary ingredient to being trusted.
2) “How we really are around here” starts with your leadership.
Genuine individuals value courage of conviction. Instead of “shooting the messenger”, they invite truth-telling from everyone around them.
3) Think of yourself as a “servant” to others.
Service-oriented people never tolerate behaviors contrary to the greater interest. Even if skilled, wayward colleagues, friends and family members are not permitted to prevail.
4) Remember what is really important.
Work-life balance is not a program one “does”. Self-nurturing is a daily practice incorporated into one’s way-of-being. Wellness creates resiliency – a key to prosperity in our competitive global environment.
5) Build relationships first.
Solid relationships leverage results. Many believe in task first, relationships second. Inspiring leaders subscribe to the opposite.
6) Bring out the best in others.
Wise leaders kindle freedom of expression and diversity. Employers of choice, these businesses attract and retain the all-important next-generation workforce.
7) Adopt people-centered practices.
Soulful environments support success. Real leaders clear roadblocks and grant employees authority plus responsibility to satisfy customers.
8) Acknowledge your fellow human being.
True leaders watch for opportunities to make others feel cherished; they never make people wrong. Sure, a particular behavior may be questionable. However, the person themselves is not to be blamed, chastised or otherwise.
9) Be prepared to question your very notions about work.
Business must discard the outmoded attitude, “they should just be grateful to have jobs”. No more cogs in the wheel! New options must serve individual and corporate goals.
10) Answer people’s yearning for a sense of meaning and purpose.
Meaningful work rouses people’s innate desire to contribute. Employees long to have their time at work make a difference rather than be mindless. Personal leadership uplifts and ignites the human yearning for belonging.
Why Should We Care?
Are you ready for the most provocative statement we’ve saved for last?
11) Profit is an outcome, not a goal!
Profit is the end result of doing many things right. It starts with basic respect and dignity toward team members. Productivity and profitability flow in direct proportion to how you treat others. To imagine any other reality is to guarantee eventual bankruptcy in the new world.
Inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs completely accept that people will increasingly decide where and with whom they partner to share their valuable store of creativity. An inevitable talent war will shift the labor market’s power balance. Mark my words. Demographics are about to wallop organizations everywhere. No longer are ten in line behind each person who feels maltreated or disenfranchised.
A Parting Call to Action
If you’ve been willing to hold an invisible “mirror of examination” to your behaviors and beliefs, you’ve also been open to considering, “How do I leave the people whose paths I cross feeling?”
No matter what, you’ve realized your legacy can either be soul-wounding or inspirational.
We stand at a hugely promising time for humanity.
Imagine what would be possible across the planet if we listened with such generosity as to dignify every individual. What learning could be unleashed if each of us stood for the other’s highest self-actualization. The way I see to tap into this powerful time is to become a personal leader who transforms by leaving a trail of kindness wherever they go.
With greatest respect, I leave you with a parting question for your future:
- What if you considered every interaction with the people in your life to be your last? How would that thought change the quality of your relationships?