Recently, I visited a former client, a top executive for a large government agency. His story rings true for many executives. I ask him what he learned and would do differently if he could do his job over again. Without hesitation, he said, “be myself.”
He was appointed to his position by an autocratic executive. He went on to say, “…when “X” appointed me, I thought I could follow his leadership style and lead the Division. That didn’t work. Everybody could see, even you said it to me, that my boss’ style was only causing me difficulty leading the team.”
We all have seen and even experienced the frustration of this type of leadership failure. The reality is people know something about the leader before the new boss’ first team meeting. When the leader’s message does not connect with people, confusion erupts and commitment erodes.
Small Steps: Use your management and leadership experiences to learn “what” and “how” your behavior motivates people to follow you. Seek opportunities to work or volunteer in different environments; perform a personal “lessons learned” and focus on those leadership qualities that you are good at and motivate followers. Richard Bach in Jonathan Livingston Seagull dishes out leadership wisdom, “your only obligation in life is to be true to one’s self.” Talk with Corner Office Coach to help you lead by being true to yourself .