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Developing Your Leadership Identity: How Thoughtful Development Can Unleash Achievement


Leadership is not an innate quality, like having green eyes, that you’re either born with or you're out of luck. While some individuals have a natural brilliance for leadership, even those people understand that their skills must be intentionally refined and thoughtfully used. The 2020 summer olympics have been rescheduled to be held in Tokyo this summer. These world-class athletes have been training for years to develop their skills and hone their techniques. Some have particular biological make-ups that enable high levels of performance. None of them rest on that: they all put in endless hours of training to become the elite performers they are.

Effective leaders are aware of their leadership style and constantly growing in their leadership abilities and execution. How you communicate, the manner with which you deal with conflict, and the way you cast vision all reflect your leadership style. How can you uncover and unleash your leadership style? We have three questions to ask yourself as you cultivate your own leadership identity.

Who has influenced you to become the professional you are today—and why? Each of us reflects the legacy of others. Mentors and leaders you have known have given you gifts and insight through their investment in you. You have the opportunity to carry forward their leadership assets, strengthened by your own insights. Reflecting on the work of others will clarify what things can be a valuable part of your leadership identity, as well as the traits that are destructive and should be avoided.

What are your gifts? Consider your skills and how they will shape the way you express your leadership style. This cuts both ways. It means capitalizing on your natural talents. It also means being aware of the shortcomings that come along with them and working to address them. Successful leaders don’t only make great strides, they avoid damaging falls.

What are your values? The most important thing to consider when establishing and expanding your leadership style is your values. What principles ground you? What purpose guides you? What type of professional do you want to be remembered as? When leaders get out of step with their values, not only are they less effective, they are less satisfied.

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