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The Six Inner Leadership Selves

June 8, 2021

Being a leader, in whatever capacity, is not a one dimensional affair. There are many ways that each of us can practice leadership: at work, in our community, at home, or in an unexpected crisis situation. One thing’s clear: you definitely don’t have to be in a management position to show leadership.

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

Managers are appointed to position; leaders must earn a following. Managers get people to perform work tasks through their authority, while leaders inspire their followers to accomplish things.

Let’s look at six ways on how each of us can become better leaders. It’s called the Six Inner Leadership Selves, which if practiced as a whole will produce a highly effective leader. Answer each of the following questions from a personal perspective.

1) Rock-the-Boat

a) Do I willingly comply with whatever discussions, directives and decisions that occur in my workplace?


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

2) Remain Centred

a) Do I get angry with my boss or co-workers, or the organization as a whole, when I get stressed?


b) Do I stay calm in the midst of organizational turmoil and 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?


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?


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 learning new skills or enhancing my knowledge in new areas, believing that my knowledge base is adequate?


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

6) Practice Humbleness

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


b) Do I approach management and leadership as inter-related disciplines whose overarching aim is to serve their followers through a collective vision?

Take time to reflect on these questions. The goal is to ultimately become a leader who achieves balance among the Six 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 Six Inner Leadership Selves. For example, during my work career two areas where I needed to strengthen my leadership were in risk-taking and rocking-the-boat. I tended to be overly cautious at times. Perhaps, because of being stung in organizations where I had 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)

Connect with Jim on Twitter @jlctaggart and LinkedIn

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