What does your day look like? You wake up, get ready, grab a bite to eat and coffee, drop off kids if you have any, and go to work. As you sit in the slow trudge of morning traffic, you start to think about everything you are going to do at work. The more you think about it, the more a transformation takes place.
You drop your supposedly “weaker” qualities in favor of ones that evoke strong power words like focused, motivated, organized, dedicated. You instill yourself with the qualities of a leader. And with that you walk into work, emulating your idea of a true leader. The clock ticks by and it’s the end of the workday. You gather your things and leave the office. You say goodbye to whomever you see on the way down and head to your car. As you drive to your next destination (pick up kids, home, the gym), you transform again. Now the strong power words leave you and are replaced by the more humble traits of caring, attentive, funny, relaxed. You shed your suit and put on your comfy pants.
Does this Make You a Better Leader?
Most of us do this thinking that it makes us better workers and leaders in our careers and less uptight in everything else. I know I did. But the reality is that it actually makes us less adequate. By decoupling ourselves. By putting on this mask at work and shedding it at home, we detract from our leadership qualities at work and exhausted at home.
CEO of Your Life
Being a leader in your life is not just about being a CEO or an Executive Leader at work. It’s about taking that same principle of being a great leader for yourself and others and applying it to both your office and out-of-office life. This includes things like leading by example and not asking others to do things you haven’t or wouldn’t do (more leadership tips). Apply these principles and practices to your whole life and see the positive impact it will foster.
Now, this doesn’t mean treat your friends and family as your employees. You don’t fire your teenager just because she refuses to do her share of the household chores. And you don’t put your friend on a performance plan because they showed up late to your dinner plans. But do bring the positive aspects of being a leader that people want to follow to all aspects of your life. Showcase your passion and dedication to your family. Inspire and encourage your friends to take the risks that make them nervous. Rally your local volunteer group to do meet their goals for the food drive. Take the leader that embodies all those power words – the leader people want to follow – and introduce him/her to your whole life.
You Are Human
As our morning car transformation takes place and we prepare to become leaders, we leave behind something important. Ourselves. All the things that make us unique, interesting, fallible- human. For some odd reason, we have been led to believe that we must transform ourselves to fit the mold of the model Leader. The ideal leader is like X so I must also be like X. What makes a good leader is that they are not an unattainable ideal. They are human, who have likes and dislikes, faults and strengths, just like everyone else. So bring those less audacious adjectives with you to work. Be humorous, caring, relaxed, whatever it is. Bring your personality to work with you. Coupled with good leadership skills and practices, it can elevate you from a good leader to a great one that people want to follow not just are assigned to follow.
We all try to be the exemplary leader, or the exemplary parent, or the exemplary friend. The reality is if you are bringing your best self, you are exemplary. Operate on your own ABHOS and find your best fit. Learn from others and take lessons but don’t decouple yourself in an effort to be something else. All you’re doing is depriving yourself of the ability to be great.
Want more? Check out my video on the topic.
Need help figuring out where your priorities lie? Take the Stop Settling Quiz!