Posts Tagged ‘ leadership style ’

Our commitment to leadership is ideally driven to improve the human condition.  The link below speaks to the virtue of leadership.  Hugh McLeod’s “Gaping void:


Life isn’t about finding yourself

Life is about




Each of us has a human need to belong….to be a part of community. So we join fraternities, clubs, and groups of one sort or another, in our attempt to fill our most basic need for connection to others. And as leaders, our role in the group is to create “buy in” and to build consensus. We want to see “eye to eye”.

But, what do we do when we don’t have that agreement or support for an idea or a vision?

Many of us, even good leaders, can feel anxious when we take a stand which sets us apart and alone. But anxious does not need to paralyze us.

Courageous leaders learn to tolerate the loneliness of being separate from the group. This is really what it means to be “self defined”. Being a self defined leader doesn’t mean bulldozing or dismissing others’  input. Leadership isn’t having all the answers. But there are times to confidently press forward with novel vision and ideas and to stand solidly behind your conviction, however unpopular.   “I” to “I” means having a secure  enough relationship with yourself -  trusting who you are -to be able to stand alone.

To begin the exploration of your level of self definition you can ask:
How was individualism viewed in your culture?
How was taking a stance received by your family?
What was it like to be different? Respected or tolerated or ridiculed?
What are your experiences of inclusion and exclusion?

How do you think this has influenced your leadership style?

Seeing eye to eye is one important aspect of leadership but the position of “I” to “I” is equally important.

In my next posts, I’ll talk about other aspects of self definition and strategies for self management.


I was lucky to be “just like” my grandmother.

Now, many of us don’t think of grandmothers as role models for leadership.  They bake cookies and take us to the zoo.  But my grandmother was a family legend.   She could play a concerto on the piano after the concert – without music.  She took two years of Greek and Latin in one summer to gain admission to a competitive college.

All families have stories about the people and events in their history.  My grandmother was a slight woman but a force to be reckoned with.  And I was “just like her”.  I loved music, I was curious….and I loved custard.  Really!  Loved custard – just like her.

My grandmother was terribly disappointed when her mother, a woman from the “old country”, ultimately refused to let her go to college.  “College is for your brothers and I need you here”.   A blow to be sure.  As the years went on, my grandmother grew into the role of matriarch but never saw her academic or professional goals achieved.

It can be difficult and challenging to follow in someone’s footsteps.  But it can also be a gift.  I am grateful to have been inspired to finish her “unfinished business”.  I reached higher than I might have, with the desire to fill her shoes.

Who have you been compared to in your family?  How has this impacted your achievement and success?


You’ve worked for this promotion and recognition for quite some time.  Now, you have been assigned to a leadership position.  You feel you have what it takes to lead.

And then…………sometimes questions creep in.  Do you feel like an imposter?  Pretending to be a grownup?  Struggle with managing up?  Face challenges managing down?

How do you think we learn to think of ourselves as “little” or “not enough” or “less than”?  Or like the “big bully”?

More often than not, it begins in our families of origin.  We’re the youngest one, babied and teased.   And when we’re ready to take on responsibility and even leadership, we question our right to be in this role.  Am I up to it?  Am I smart enough?  We might be easily intimidated by our supervisor.  We might have trouble giving difficult feedback and sustaining leadership with our direct reports.

One aspect that determined our ability to take on leadership and to feel comfortable with others as leaders in authority is learned in our family.  Related to birth order, and gender and the timing of our birth.  Were you the big brother?  The care taking big sister?  The silly baby?  The girl, in a family of boys, prized in your ethnic group.    Were you raised in a time of economic security or in a time of uncertainty in your family?

All of these aspects of family are worth reviewing to understand your styles as a leader.  Then we have to decide – Is today a different time?  Are we in a different organization/system?  Can we risk taking on new behaviors and roles to attain the goals we most want to reach?

Effective leadership, from the inside out, requires us to explore ourselves in our family of origin as well as our willingness to try on new roles in the present…….to create a new future for ourselves.  And to lead that organization to success.