How are you ‘Refining your Leadership’ in 2019?
This week represents the kick off of our 2019 leadership improvement initiative, “Refining Your Leadership.” We will be supporting this initiative with new leadership inspirations, articles, podcasts and in speaking engagements. We want leaders and aspiring leaders to understand how they can best improve their leadership.
For those of you that have followed me, you know that I believe in a personalized, continuously-improving, process-based approach to leadership growth. It should be personalized because I can’t lead like you, you can’t lead like me and neither of us can lead like any other person we know. We all have innate qualities that define our leadership potential and define who we are and will be as a leader. These qualities are ‘triggered’ by some defining event in our lives to help us realize our potential. These events can be from our upbringing, relationships, workplace, national or international crises. I have met with leaders who point to certain events in their lives, from those broad categories, that they believe helped make them into the leader they are today.
The bottom line is that leaders are born and made. I receive a lot of pushback from that statement by people who believe that anyone can be taught to be a leader. For that to work, there must be different levels of leadership because the exceptional leaders I have met have taken few, if any, leadership courses. Not everyone can and should become a leader. Society couldn’t function if that happened. My approach to leadership improvement is adaptable and can accommodate this reality for exceptional leaders, functional leaders, aspiring leaders and anyone in between.
It’s like the refining process for precious metals, like gold. Gold deposits are mined in a very impure form from gold-bearing rocks. The rocks are extracted in a tumbler to isolate the impure parts of the rocks from the gold. The gold is then smelted at a high temperature to create pure gold. The remaining impurities are removed in the refining process and the gold is mixed with various alloys to create gold bars, jewelry and for other uses.
Like gold and other precious metals, leaders are refined through life’s challenges to shine their brightest. They must first inventory their innate leadership qualities (raw materials). These qualities are used in the challenges they face daily, whether they be rolled as in a tumbler or heated as in the smelting process. These challenges are what make a person the leader they have or will become. Just like starting out with better quality gold deposits results in higher purity refined gold, a potential leader who starts out with an abundance of innate qualities has a higher leadership potential. Gold can not be refined from silver and silver can’t be refined from platinum. There has to be something to start with to yield the purest refined product.
Let’s refine your leadership in 2019 and aspire to be the best leader you can.