Part of the Series: "Leadership Principles For Young Professionals & Millennials
As a leadership coach, I have a handful of my favorite questions that I love asking my clients. One in particular is “would you follow you?” Most have a knee-jerk response of “of course.” But, when they actually stop and look at themselves with more critical eyes, they find that it’s not that easy. If you have the discipline to really evaluate yourself by putting yourself in the shoes of the people you lead, along with the intimate knowledge you have of yourself, of all your strengths and weaknesses, and you have the discipline to not gloss over a trait that may cause you to pause and question yourself, and whether you would actually want to follow yourself, you have now stepped into a state of mind that few are willing to go, and only true leaders can be found.
It requires great courage to be willing to let down your guard and allow your eyes to see what you are truly made of. Most people are content with the illusion they have held around their leadership, because they fear the truth, and may not have the confidence in their abilities to change that truth if they don’t like it, so “Ignorance is bliss.” The courage to look at yourself with honest eyes is often the difference maker between leaders who are defined by their titles vs. leaders who define their titles.
We are not perfect, and we all have our flaws. The question becomes: What are you willing to do about them? Do you have the will to make changes that help you grow as a leader? Are you intentional in your growth as a leader, and even more so, as a person? This is what the Marines demanded from every Marine, not just officers, but each and every Marine. Imagine a culture populated with people who have the courage to look at themselves with honest eyes, and the willingness to tirelessly strive to grow as leaders and in their professions. Imagine such expectations in your organization. How would that organization perform with a culture like that?
As you progress in your career, or as you start and grow a business, you will move into positions of leadership, and what will make you stand apart from your peers or other business owners will be your courage and willingness to “Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement.” This principle is no joke, when you drive deep into its intent. It’s not as simple as knowing you need work in a particular area of your own leadership. It’s as deep as the question of “would you be willing to follow yourself?” When you hit a trait that raises concern, don’t ignore it. Attack it with courage, determination, and an iron will. This is where you will remove any ceiling that may have stopped you from realizing your leadership potential.
Agoge Leadership Development
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