One of the insights into leadership Holy Spirit has given me is the concept of leading from our own identity. A number of my blogs have discussed identity or referenced it.
This insight includes recognizing the importance of being who we are, not just doing what we do. So much of the literature on leadership focuses on helping us to be better at doing “stuff.”
To the extent the literature focuses on being, a lot of it directs us to be someone else. Take the comments from someone reviewing a book on leadership:
The author is clearly an extrovert so some of the personality traits he talks about or things he sort of assumes you are already doing are only valid if you are also extroverted like him. For those of us who are introverts, you are going to realize that there are extra steps involved to reach some of his suggested goals/mindsets.”
I recently decided to write another book (spoiler alert: shameless plug to follow) as a follow-up to my book Overcoming: A Survival Guide for Change Agents.
The book outlines some of the leadership, people and organizational principles I relied upon to turn around an organization (not this one) in less than two years. The five leadership principles I discuss all relate more to being than to doing.
Those principles are:
- Be Trustworthy
- Be who you say you are
- Be First
- Be a role model for the behavior you expect
- Be There
- Be a servant to the people
- Be an Enabler
- Empower good people to do good work
- Be Good
- Take the high road
Of course, being results in action. The key is to make sure that the goal is to be, not to do. Example: When the goal is being good rather than doing good, the resulting behavior meets the spirit as well as the letter of any rules.
A simple example along these lines is the “No Food Allowed” policy in the Ambassador Auditorium. If the goal is to do good, then we may have a debate about whether gum is defined as a food. If it is not, then I will chew gum in the auditorium.
If the goal is to be good, then I won’t bring in gum or anything else, regardless of how it is classified, that might dirty up the auditorium.
What are your Be’s?