What shaped you as a leader? Regardless of the natural talents, gifts and abilities you were born with, people, events and circumstances were involved in a silent conspiracy, all contributing to the leader you are today.
Think back throughout your life – what marked you as a leader? For me, several things come to mind…
My parents – No surprise, many leaders would say something similar. My mom and dad loved me unconditionally and challenged me to be the best I could be.
My middle school years – An aptitude test I took in the 8th grade was a game-changer for me. I was told I wouldn’t go to college and was enrolled in vocational training as a 9th grader. Looking back, that motivated me – plus it got me out of foreign language courses in high school!
My faith – Regardless of your faith, what you believe deeply will undoubtedly affect the way you lead. Following a servant leader has been one of the most formative elements in my leadership journey. Whose leadership are you attempting to emulate?
My early supervisors – Dan Cathy was my supervisor for almost 20 years. Perhaps his biggest contribution to my leadership was the idea that your capacity to grow determines your capacity to lead. He’s modeled that for me for over three decades. That single idea is the premise behind the recent book I co-authored with Ken Blanchard entitled, Great Leaders GROW. Thanks, Dan!
The opportunity to lead – Most of what you and I know about leadership, we learned by actually leading. I’m thankful I had the chance to lead early in my career. Who are the emerging leaders in your organization who need an opportunity?
Why does any of this matter? I’m no psychologist, but I believe that being fully aware of our leadership roots gives us a real advantage as we try to lead in the future. I don’t believe that our past is something to be overcome as much as it is something to be understood and embraced. I believe all of our life experiences can serve as preparation for our future.
Our leadership future can be informed by our past – but the future is about our choices, not our past – we get to decide. My challenge and yours, is to learn from our past, but don’t live there.[GLS_Shield]
What shaped you as a leader?