Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?
When you read that sentence, perhaps the first thing you thought of is your job. So often, we equate leadership and the workplace. We go to leadership seminars and trainings. We read books and articles on leadership. We watch the heads of our companies and organizations and decide whether they are true leaders or not.
I frequently get the impression that people think of leadership as something that’s turned on at work and turned off at home. Maybe it’s because the environment at home is less formal. Perhaps it’s because we aren’t getting paid to be a leader at home. It could simply be that we’re more conscientious about how we treat people at work and tend to take people at home for granted.
Regardless of how you look at leadership, the fact of the matter is your leadership style is with you at all times. You can try to fake it, but people are pretty good about seeing through a contrivance.
If you don’t trust people at a basic level and feel a need to control them, you’re likely doing that at work and at home.
If your communication style carries an edge of anger or frustration, you’re not likely to simply turn it off and on.
If you avoid things at work because they might be difficult to accomplish, take a look around your personal life and see how many things you’ve avoided or have left undone.
Indeed, researchers, writers, and speakers on leadership are more and more making the connection between leadership and home life. The similarities are easy to see.
Think of the values and behaviors often associated with leadership: honesty, trust, commitment, relationship, and many others. Which of these do we expect at home?
Likewise, the competencies of excellent leadership also apply at home as much as at work: communication, feedback, planning and vision, courage and risk, innovation and change, decision making, relationships and power, self-management, and others.
Sometimes we have bad heads of our companies or organizations who don’t rise to the level of “leader,” and sometimes we simply have bad relationships in our personal lives. Just take a look at the divorce rate.
Here’s the bottom line: your leadership style first and foremost is about you.
It’s a reflection of:
- What’s going on inside your head and your heart
- Your past experiences and the conclusions you made about those experiences
- What you believe to be true
It’s about who you convinced yourself you have to be in order to get people to do things.
Think about your leadership style at work and at home. Are you getting the best you can out of your relationships with colleagues and family members? If not, what can you do to improve your leadership?