"Be yourself - not your idea of what you think someone else's idea of yourself should be." Henry David Thoreau

This is the starting premise of so much of our leadership work.

Be yourself.

As Ronseal would suggest…”Do what it says on your tin.”

Be congruent, authentic, transparent. It is the number one characteristic that makes followers follow a leader.

So be yourself and that’s job done. Easy right?

Yet when we ask leaders – both potential and experienced – to describe what they stand for as a leader and what we as followers can expect of them and from them, most can’t answer.

There is no magic wand to getting the answer. It is a question to consider, to reflect upon, then leave and go back to. Then consider it some more.

You could get feedback from colleagues but this should only be part of the input. The answer has to come from you and it has to come from your gut. (To be more accurate,  it comes from your limbic brain but as this part of your brain hasn’t got the capacity for language, it feels more like it is coming from your gut).

When will you know you have it nailed? Trust me, you will just know.

When you have, you must ensure that everything that you do is congruent with this leadership philosophy. Everything. If you don’t, your followers will lose trust, connection and energy for the cause you represent.

Many people have never considered the question ‘what do I stand for’, yet in answering it you covertly set standards and expectations for those around you. As Kouzes and Posner themselves describe, “Leaders establish principles concerning the way people…should be treated and the way goals are pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow.”

Call To Action

Tell me what you stand for as a leader and what we as your followers can expect of you and from you.

To find out more about our work with the likes of Samsung, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Merlin Entertainments, The League Managers’ Association, The  Go-Ahead Group and many more, email richard@twentyoneleadership.com