Perhaps one of our greatest personal and professional assets is our own narrative. Likely there are events and experiences in our lifetime that required us to use skills and qualities we didn’t realise we had. The potential and beauty of these experiences, particularly when it comes to leadership, is the inspiration that awaits the world when, or if, we retell our story.
We learn far more about leadership by experience than we do in a classroom. In short, leadership is a journey, not a destination. We all have a narrative and a story (if not more than one) and it is important to take inventory and discover what these stories are and how to articulate them. This is not about bragging or flattering your ego – in fact it’s far from it. This is about being realistic and understanding that you are a leader and have spent years demonstrating your leadership qualities and characteristics. However, you just might not have kept tabs on the documentation. So, it is now time to conduct your leadership audit—someone, an organisation, or perhaps even your country is looking for what you have.
So let’s start with you – because it’s time to start articulating your leadership narrative.
How can you start? Here are 5 steps that can help:
1. Make a list of people who you believe are leaders (you do not have to know them personally)
2. For each of the individuals you listed above, list the qualities they each possess that inspire you to see them as leaders
3. For each leadership quality you listed, describe at least one time in your life when you exhibited that same quality
4. Come up with at least 3 additional qualities that you believe leaders possess
5. Repeat step 3
You now have specific examples of when, where, and how you demonstrated your leadership. As you begin to build your narrative and articulate your story, think about what you learned from each of the experiences you identified in the 5 step process. What changed in you? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about leadership?
Your own experiences are a rich resource of knowledge, learning and insight. Knowing what your story is and how to tell it can not only make a difference for you, it might be exactly what someone else needs to hear. You are more capable than you know. In the workplace and in life this thing called “leadership”, that so often gets a reputation for being hard to measure, is in fact something we just are not that great at documenting.
Please contact me if I can be of assistance to you personally or your company.
Haydn Thomas – Chief Mindavator | LinkedIn Learning Facilitator | Fierce Conversation Starter
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