Leadership as a State of Being

In a recent blog post from Talent Management.com, authors John Anderson and Marc Michaelson compare finding great leadership to Indiana Jones chasing the Arc of the Covenant. Leadership development is a constant topic in the workplace, and the number of approaches to great leadership are daunting. There’s an endless river of programs, seminars and books that propose high-concept ideas and worn out cliches claiming to hold the keys to great leadership.

Anderson and Michaelson say that a three-letter phrase is the answer: state of being.

Individuals cannot lead others until they have mastered their own state of being – who they are, what they believe, and how they behave. State of being speaks to the sum of managers’ attitudes, beliefs, actions, and values. It spans their vision of the future and presence in the moment.

A manager’s state of being cannot replace the critical functions that a manager must perform, like decision making, organization, and building talent. These are just a few of the crucial tasks a manager must strive to execute effectively. A manager’s balance between state of being and critical task execution can be gracefully tied together here to create a top-talent manager.

When leaders know themselves, they can be open to listening and learning that which is necessary for interpersonal work with employees of all ages, demographics and experience, which can result in a high engagement culture.

Leadership is founded within one’s internal sense of self-confidence, emotional intelligence and balance that brings forth an authentic leadership presence. Anderson and Michaelson note that leadership depends on character, integrity, authenticity, and belief in oneself. Leadership works from the inside out, not the outside in. It’s about an individual’s core, and not so much about training or titles.

Anderson and Michaelson say that there are three critical attributes of being an effective leader:

1. Personal mastery and work-life integration: Leadership is about building followership. Substance and character, not style, are what determine followers.

2. The ability to cultivate and sustain a collaborative advantage: The principle of personal mastery develops one’s capacity to lead or influence in a collaborative manner. Such collaborative strength frees a leader to work with individuals and teams from a position of mutual self-interest.

3. The ability to create the best place to work – a culture of high engagement, retention, performance and productivity: Building on the layers of personal mastery and collaboration, leaders can ultimately forge the culture of a work team, department, division, or company. Those layers provide the foundation of authentic leadership and give way to the final element: leadership power.

HIgh-performance leaders are learning leaders. Great leaders make themselves available in any situation, to coach and mentor. They plan for the future with an end result in mind. Knowing oneself and personal state of being gives a leader the tools to face today’s most prominent challenges in the workplace. A leader influences change in the lives of others and this act in itself defines leadership. To read more about leadership and a leader’s state of being, read the full article here.

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