Leadership is a series of behaviors. It is not who you are, but it is what you do.
Understanding leadership in this way really makes me hopeful because the truth is, you can be an introvert or an extrovert and still be a great leader. You can be a choleric or melancholy and be a great leader. You can be a lion or even an otter and be a great leader. It is not your personality that determines your effectiveness as a leader, but rather the behaviors that you display, or those habits and behaviors that you have acquired through your environment and experiences that determine your leadership abilities.
Years ago, I came to a point in my life where I thought that I had capped out as a leader. I felt that I was not equipped to lead the organization that I served to the next level. As I began a new journey on how could grow in my own personal leadership capasity, I met Flip Flippen, Chairman of the Flippen Group, an executive coaching and leadership development company in Texas. Prior to our meeting he asked that I take the Flippen Profile®. Like most of us I have taken every personality and leadership profile known to man, but I respected his request, logged in online and began the process.
Entering his office, Flip extended his hand to greet me and said, “Duncan, why are you so competitive?” I thought to myself, “I don’t even know this guy. What in the world is he doing?” I quickly responded, “Competitive? I am not competitive.” – all the while knowing that I was, but not willing to confess it to a stranger. Flip replied, “Well, Duncan, you are competitive, and the data from your profile shows that you are so competitive that you are willing to win at all costs.”
I knew in my heart that this was unfortunately all too true, but I remained steadfast in my denial. As the conversation continued, Flip pointed out two Personal Constraints from the profile data that were holding me back from being the leader that I was capable of being. For the sake of time, I won’t bore you with the details, but needless-to-say, I was amazed at how precisely the profile had identified specific areas that were impacting my ability to lead.
You see there is a difference between “leaders” and “those that lead.” Some are leaders only due to title or organizational structure, while those that lead have the ability to inspire others to achieve a common goal.
After identifying these constraints, Flip told me that there were three things he wanted me to do over the next month that would help me grow in my leadership skills. At first, I thought that it can’t be that easy, but I was determined to be a better leader so I made the decision that day to work on these simple behaviors and see what happened.
Over the next 4-6 weeks, there was an amazing transformation that took place in me personally, and within my team and organization. A simple shift in my behaviors, which initially were changed as part of a formula, were now part of my leadership DNA. The community within my team grew, our performance accelerated and the overall environment of the organization became more empowering and productive.
What is holding you back from being the leader that God created you to be? Maybe you just need to be a better listener, or perhaps your decisiveness is shutting down the dynamics of your team. Do you continually run into the same roadblocks? Do you have to deal with the same issues over and over again?
Does your team feel empowered to fulfill your mission? Leadership is about improving your ability to consistently inspire, motivate and drive your team to accomplish positive and sustainable results. It is never too late to become a better leader.