As leaders, we sometimes treat our leadership style as a product of our environment and corporate culture, rather than as a product of ourselves. Our leadership is a personal matter though, much of it stems from within and is influenced by things personal to us. Our experience, our ideas, our knowledge.
Understanding our personal leadership brand is an integral part of how we build consistency in our professional relationships and how we are perceived. Just as failed commitments and substandard interactions damage a corporate brand, our personal leadership brand suffers alike.
The motivation to become a leader in your field can come at any stage in your career. Perhaps you are just starting out and have a clear vision of where you want to progress to in your role; or maybe your own leader has approached you out of the blue with an opportunity. If you are ambitious and know that leadership is a goal for your future, it would be good to be able to answer the question – what is it about being a leader that’s important to you? Are you keen to inspire others, pass on your own experiences, or help a team achieve something great together? The right motivation will ensure that when things get tough, and they most likely will, that you will want to remain in your leadership role. The desire to be a good leader, and to succeed in a new, more accountable role is a powerful motivator and a key part of deciding if you are ready to lead others.
As leaders, we face many challenges. Often times they’re operational, financial, or are to some degree, external challenges. Sometimes though our greatest challenges can come from within.
In 1978 Dr Pauline Clance and Dr Suzanne Imes published "The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women" In it, is described the phenomenon of someone perceiving intellectual phoniness or fraudulence within themselves.
Over time more has been understood about this condition, now often referred to as Imposter Syndrome, and the types of people it affects.
For many professions, continuing professional development (CPD) (usually technical) is seen as a necessity, a vital part of work and individual development. The Law Society of Scotland sets out that Scottish solicitors have to do a minimum of 20 hours’ CPD a year, and Scottish teachers recognise its importance with 35 hours’ CPD expected a year.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” - Robert F. Kennedy
Failure is often what leaders fear the most, yet it is often the catalyst for successful leadership and can be used as a powerful tool for reaching great success. Smart leaders are those who use failure to assess their options and to keep digging until their vision is met. The bottom line is, leaders must fail in order to succeed. When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 1000 times, he replied ‘I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.’
Rising to the top comes with a great deal of responsibility and is often associated with higher levels of stress. By nature, leaders are hard-working and fiercely committed to driving their organisation towards a prosperous future.
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