How to Capitalize on Your Inner Leader!

On March 22, 2012, in Blog, Leadership Career Success, by Christine Glasco

In individual contributor roles, daily problems are typically related to the technical or operational aspects of performing the tasks at hand such as writing marketing copy for a new product launch, debugging a software product or responding to a customer complaint.  Completing these tasks and solving these problems in a satisfactory manner is usually dependent on the skills, abilities, experience and education of the individual contributor.

However, further up the career ladder, daily problems become less defined:

  • they do not come along with a handy training manual;
  • there are no directions for resolution; and finally,
  • daily problems are often mischaracterized, multiplied and magnified based on the maturity of the organization, stated and unstated business imperatives, industry/marketplace indicators, the regulatory climate, the organization’s ability to leverage technology and the swiftness (or lack) of innovation creation and execution.

This means, as the work environment becomes more complex, there is a greater opportunity for the sum total expression of one’s ‘inner leader’ to be observed and seen by others. 

Leadership talent, and in some respects the leader’s values, vision and ability to navigate are for the most part, easily observed by others.

There is also a set of forces that operate on an unconscious level that serve as the platform or foundation for the ‘inner leader’ phenomenon.

I define the ‘inner leader’ as an individual’s distinctive leadership philosophy, tenets or code derived from a combination of early belief systems, life experiences, education, parental teaching, self-image and self-talk, successes, failures, perceptions, insights, learning agility, suitability for leadership (temperament), charisma and ability to gain energy in the face of ambiguity (acumen), etc. 

This philosophy, tenet or code also positions a leader in an advantaged or disadvantaged status making some leaders appear to be infused with a magical “can do no wrong” gene.

The below the surface ‘inner leader’ qualities become observable in how the leader carries out his or her critical responsibilities.  Does the leader have ‘lift’ and moxie and an uncanny gift of rallying and inspiring all constituencies?  Or is the leader lost in the morass of the daily grind?

Some thoughts on how to capitalize on your ‘inner leader’:

  1. Perform a periodic Leadership Career SWOT.  Do you know and are you able to articulate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? Develop a plan to add to your strengths, shore up your weaknesses, anticipate threats and optimize opportunities.
  2. Check your self-talk – what messages are you listening to and projecting?
  3. Take risks, study successful leaders, engage in self-development opportunities, and ask for feedback from trusted advisors.
  4. What have you learned from your failures?  Can you admit your failures? Have you developed new levels of resilience, resolve and purpose as a result of each setback?
  5. In the face of overwhelming problems, changing performance expectations and revenue generation goals, unclear board expectations, CEO vacillation on strategic goals, etc., how are you meeting each challenge?  Remember your reactions to these scenarios may allow for the advantaged and the disadvantaged positioning of your ‘inner leader’ to be observed by others.

Questions for you to consider:

  • What does your Leadership Career SWOT reveal about your development needs?
  • How is your ‘inner leader’ manifesting in your daily actions / decisions / interactions?

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Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Who Needs a One Page Career Plan? You Do!   go to:   Email:  Phone:  1.940.367.0837  

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