Use visions & values to lead yourself
before you lead others.
By Ruth Tearle
By leading yourself first, you will be more powerful leading your team.
As leaders, we use many leadership tools to guide our teams. But how often, do we apply these same strategic leadership tools to ourselves - in our role as leaders.
This article shows how by leading yourself first, you can be dial up your personal power, and use this to help you lead your team.
Vision and values - powerful tools for leading
There are two tools that leaders use to guide their organizations in a dynamic environment: Values and vision.
In an organization, values show what is important regarding the way we behave towards important stakeholders.
A vision is often the end result of a strategy process. It is a photograph showing what our organization would be like in the future, if it was successfully delighting its future customers.
We will apply these two leadership tools to help us guide the most complex organization around – ourselves.
Discovering our own values – the key to ‘our light.’
Our values show us what is truly important in our lives. When we behave in ways that contradict our values, we tend to become frustrated and aggressive. That energy is transmitted to our teams - who then become uncooperative. However, when we live and act according to our values, we become happier, calmer and authentic. It becomes far easier to guide and inspire a team.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?... There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure around you.
... And as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same...
A Return to Love - Marianne Williamson.
There is a wonderful quotation by Marianne Williamson which appears in Nelson Mandela’s book ‘Long Walk to Freedom”.
As a leader, you have incredible power within yourself - if only you look for it. Once you find your own torch, you will able to light the torches of others in your team. So, in order to discover what it is that makes you ‘brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous’, answer the following questions:
- What frustrates or angers me?
- What can I do to remove this anger from my life?
- What or who energizes me?
- What or who makes me feel good about myself?
- What should I be doing to inject more energy into my life?
- If I had all the money in the world, and no responsibilities, how would I choose to spend my time and energy?
- What makes me special?
- What day dreams or ideas do I get, that energise me?
- What is important in my life? If I knew I had only 6 months to live – what would I do differently?
- Who are the most important stakeholders in my life?
- Why are they important to me?
- If I could set some guiding principles regarding how I would like to relate to each of my important stakeholders, what would these rules or principles be? (Remember to include yourself as one of your important stakeholders.)
Developing a vision or strategic plan for your life.
A vision is an imaginary ‘photograph’ of ourselves being successful, living by our values and having a life filled with meaning. A vision provides us with focus. It helps us to set and achieve goals. It injects energy into our lives.
As leaders, if we don't have have a clear direction in our lives, we tend to compensate by trying to control everything around us. We check everything is perfect. We tend not to trust our team. We try to meet everyone's needs. We get frustrated and we frustrate our team. We burn out, and burn out our teams.
When we have a clear strategic plan for our lives, as leaders, we become generous. We encourage our team to create and achieve their own dreams or visions. We show them how we can support them in achieving their dreams, in the way they support the team vision. In so doing, we unleash an energy that results in our team contributing far more than we could ever have imagined.
Answer the following questions to help develop your own vision.
What strengths have you developed over the last few years. Think broadly about:
- What you know? - in your subject area, about your company, about your customers or target markets, about your competitors, about products and services…
- Who you know? - inside the company, your customers, your competitors, your suppliers, who you network with, who you play sport with, who you know in your community, your place of worship, who you studied with…
- What experiences you’ve had? What insights have you gained from these experiences? What have you learned as a result of your experiences – about the job, about people, about life?
- What you can do? What skills do you have? What are you able to do as a result of having these skills? How creative are you? How can you mix and match your strengths differently? What can you offer to your team?
Who are the target markets or stakeholders of your own life?
Who buys your time, energy and strengths right now? Are you making use of your full range of strengths in your current job? What other projects could you volunteer for, that would make use of your strengths? Think of projects inside and outside of your organization.
Who else would be interested in using your strengths?
Think of other departments in your own organization, and in other organizations. What is it that these people would value? How could you contribute to their business? How can you mix and match your strengths in a special way to help others achieve their goals and strategies?
What would you love to be doing with your life? What are your dreams?
Imagine you are writing a book about your life. You’ve finally got to the chapter where you, the hero or heroine achieves greatness. Describe the year that marked the turning point for the hero as “ The year of…….?” Imagine that you, the hero, are achieving your dream. What would it look like, feel like, be like? What else would be happening in your life at that time to make this possible? What would you be doing? What would other people be saying about you?
Put it all together.
- The key to being successful is your ability to come up with an idea that puts it all together. This is what ‘strategic thinking is all about.’ I.e. to be able to offer your ‘customers’ something that:
- Combines your strengths into a special package – that is different from what is currently being offered by others.
- Gives your future customers something that will help them achieve their own goals. I.e. something of value.
- Is something that energizes you. I.e. it will lead you closer to your dream.
- Is something that supports your values, and how you want to behave. o Is something that you feel is right. It is you.
‘When you find that ‘it.’ Build your life around it.’ This means you are truly leading yourself. You are leading your own life.
When your life has purpose and meaning, you inject a special magic into your team.
You become an inspirational leader.
Because as a leader:
- When you feel powerful, you can empower others.
- When you feel special and gorgeous and wonderful, you allow others to feel the same.
- When you feel creative and energized, you encourage creativity in others.
You may also like:
- Motivational resources Gifts and tools you can use to lead and inspire yourself.
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