Can we really act our way into being something that we are not already?
I think not, at least not for long. Sure, we can act courageously when we feel a substantial amount of fear,
but when we are an extrovert can we act like an extrovert until we eventually become one.
I think not.
Who we are is reflected in what we do. Vice versa? Not so much.
Among the phrases that was popular when I was younger is “fake it until you make it.” In other words, I may not know what I’m doing but I could pretend to know until I acquired the amount of knowledge necessary. The trouble with this approach was, yes, you guessed it, I was faking.
Faking or acting, without being rooted in being, just cannot result in good leadership.
Faking it until we make it also assumes that who I am already is not good enough. While, we should always strive to improve ourselves in every aspect of life, I believe that each of us possesses what it takes to effectively influence people to good outcomes. (My definition of leadership)
One of the insights into leadership I have gained through the years is the concept of leading from our own identity.
This insight includes recognizing the importance of being who we are not just doing what we do.
So much of the literature on leadership focuses on helping us to be better at doing “stuff”.
To the extent the literature focuses on being, a lot of it directs us to be someone else.
Take the comments from someone reviewing a book on leadership –
“The author is clearly an extrovert so some of the personality traits he talks about or things he sort of assumes you are already doing are only valid if you are also extroverted like him. For those of us who are introverts, you are going to realize that there are extra steps involved to reach some of his suggested goals/mindsets.”
Spoiler alert, shameless plug to follow – I recently wrote a book called, Transforming: The Power of Leading from Identity. It describes how all of our personality traits are valid in our quest to become better leaders.
By relying on how we were raised and what we learned from teachers, coaches, the school of hard knocks, mentors, peers, and even leadership seminars we develop our own set of leadership principles that work for us.
More, next time.
Meanwhile, let me know some of the strongest influencers on your leadership style.
Being Leads to Doing, Part Two
When we use our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned from those experiences to develop leadership principles that guide us, we are leading from our identity. Put another way, when we lead we are simply being true to who we are.
Of course, being results in action. The key is to make sure our goal is to be who we are rather than doing what we do.
During one of my leadership assignments I developed a set of Be’s that guided my actions.
- Be Trustworthy
- Be who you say are
- Be First
- Be a role model for the behavior you expect
- Be There
- Be a servant to the people
- Be An Enabler
- Empower good people to do good work
- Be Good
- Take the high road
These Be’s became a part of my identity based on how I was raised and from being around my first corporate mentor.
Drop me a line to share with me some of your Be’s.