26 Aug

How leadership is a paradox and where it starts.

Regardless of what leadership definition you subscribe to—there are so many—chances are it references influence over others. One of my favorite examples is Brené Brown’s definition from Dare to Lead, in which she described a leader as “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.” In their book The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner defined leadership as “the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.”

Leadership involves others. It calls on the leader to inspire others.

This begs the question, how do we inspire others?

First and foremost, we need clarity about who we are, we must understand how we show up, how our behaviors and actions impact others—good and bad. That’s where it starts, bringing us to the following paradox: while leadership is outward focused, leadership skills are developed and sharpened by first looking inward and through becoming crystal clear about how our behaviors and actions impact others.

Organizations thrive when individuals in leadership positions understand and embrace this dichotomy.

How well do you know yourself-really?

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