How are you ‘being’​ as a leader?

I recently brought two peers together for a coaching wrap-up session. They shared highlights of their coaching, including learnings and insights, and talked about what they have lately been choosing to do differently in their organizations and with their teams.

I noticed that when we got to the question, “Who are you being now, and what is different about it?” we seemed to arrive at the heart of the leadership success these two have reached over the last four months.

“I’m being present with my people—I’m more open, and a better listener,” one leader shared.

“I’m being more transparent, and sharing my inner thoughts more openly,” said the other.

Ultimately, it turned out, shifting their “being” was not only central to each leader’s personal development, but also critical to their recent successes. One reason changing the way you are being is powerful is because it causes a ripple effect—everyone else starts to shift in response to your altered persona, changing their behaviors, reactions, and responses. The entire emotional environment of a business can shift as a result of one leader making this kind of change.

There is one critical way to change who we are being, and that is through gaining increased self-knowledge. Once we know who we are, we understand better how we act and react, we recognize our greatest challenges, and also our strengths. We lead with that self-knowledge, and then we are being our best selves.

Jim Collins, in his bestselling business book Good to Great, described several leaders whose success was in part centered in deep self-knowledge. Some of his articles on leadership here.

At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.

― Lao Tzu

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