Leadership is personal. Take Vision for instance. Vision is what we want to create and what that will achieve. To define one’s vision, one has to become introspective and that’s personal. What does achievement look like? How will it work? How will it grow, change, be sustained? What’s the blueprint? It’s not that different from the artist who looks at a block of stone or blank canvas and finds inspiration. The artist illuminates essential human truths and the business leader creates or refines human wants, needs, or processes. A leader’s vision reveals something about who they are and how they see the world.
Leaders must also be effective communicators and communication is personal. Once a vision has been defined, a leader has to have the ability to communicate that vision, and ultimately inspire individuals to follow. The tools of the artist are themselves and the tools of great business leaders are as well. We want to follow a leader that we connect to personally. Who reveals aspects of themselves and is clear about what is important to them in a way that is palatable to us. That we trust and have faith in. That we relate to and believe in.
Authenticity, Trust, Humanity, Humility, Responsibility, Introspection, Empathy, Values, Flexibility, Imagination, Insight, Perspective, the aforementioned Vision, all are attributes that are key to leadership to name but a few. They are all deeply personal.
The enclosed video is from the Harvard Business Review and asks a series of business leaders, professors, and scholars- “what is the biggest mistake a leader can make?” Pay close attention to the recurring theme of the “personal” in their answers. This video can also serve as a powerful tool for our own introspection. How many of these mistakes do we fall into? And once we become aware of these mistakes, what are we willing to do about it?