The 6 Inner Leadership Selves

Being a leader, in whatever capacity, is not a one dimensional affair.

There are many ways we can practice leadership: at work, in our community, at home or in unexpected crisis situations. One thing is clear: you definitely don’t have to be in a management position to show leadership. Read my recent post Are You a Post-Heroic Leader?

Here’s one simple description to note the difference between management and leadership:

Managers are appointed to position; leaders must earn a following.

With that out of the way, let’s look at six ways on how each of us can become better leaders. I call it the 6 Inner Leadership Selves, which if practiced as a whole will produce a highly effective leader.


1) Rock-the-Boat

a) Do I willingly comply with whatever directives, discussions, decisions, etc. in my workplace?

Or,

b) Do I ask WHY, presenting constructive questions and viable alternatives for consideration?


2) Remain Centered

a) Do I get pissed off at my boss or co-workers, or the organization as a whole, when I get stressed?

Or,

b) Do I stay calm in the midst of organizational turmoil or what I perceive as poor management decisions?


3) Be Curious

a) Do I accept as fact what’s discussed at work or the world around me?

Or,

b) Do I take the initiative to explore what I don’t know or understand?


4) Take Calculated Risks

a) Do I refrain from taking a chance to do something innovative at work when the opportunity arises?

Or,

b) Do I constantly keep an eye peeled for how I can add value to the organization, even when there’s risk involved?


5) Be a Sponge for Learning

a) Do I not bother to try to learn new skills or to enhance in my knowledge in new areas, believing that my knowledge base is adequate?

Or,

b) Do I absorb what goes on around me, savoring the new knowledge gained through life experiences and reading?


6) Practice Humbleness

a) Do I believe that those in positions of management hold power and authority over others?

Or,

b) Do I approach management and leadership as inter-related disciplines whose overarching aim is to serve others?

Take time to reflect on these questions. The goal is to ultimately become leaders who achieve balance among the 6 Inner Leadership Selves. That’s easy enough said.

The challenge, therefore, is for each of us to do an honest assessment to determine where we’re strong and where we’re weak on the 6 Inner Leadership Selves. For example, in my case two areas where I need to strengthen my leadership are in risk-taking and rocking-the-boat. I still tend to be overly cautious at times. Perhaps because of being stung in the past in organizations where I’ve worked, rocking-the-boat was something I learned had some risk.

As I stated, each of us needs to do a candid assessment of our strengths and weaknesses. Once we do this and establish a plan for action, we’ve empowered ourselves to move forwards to become better leaders.

Are you ready to take the journey?

The possible’s slow fuse is lit by imagination.
– Emily Dickinson

Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday. Imagine a world in which the business of business was to imagine worlds people might actually want to live in someday. Imagine a world created by people, for the people not perishing from the earth forever.

Yeah. Imagine that.

- Christopher Locke (The Cluetrain Manifesto, from the final chapter Post Apocalypso)