A leader who has firmly anchored their leadership will be clear on the direction, way and destination they seek. They will be confident in their decisions whether they result in success or failure. And they will sleep well at night knowing they act righteously. But a leader who has failed to anchor their leadership will drift and be easily blown of course by the quietest of voices.
Active Knowledge Question:
Have you anchored your leadership, and if so in what?
I recently spoke to the Three Circles Of Leadership, unpacking the expanding presence of one’s leadership from Self to Others to a Community. From the role of Achiever to that of Enabler to that of Catalyst.
The continuation of this story is the explanation of the importance of Anchoring.
Without anchoring, your leadership will literally be ‘all over the place’. You will have no foundation on which to stand. No summit for which to strive. And you won’t know what path to take when choices present themselves.
Many leaders today are challenged by the constant noise that invades their leadership ‘demanding’ that they respond to this and that, to act, to cease acting, to take this path, to stop this other path, to listen to this voice and not to listen to other voices, and so it goes on. It can be a constant pulling in all directions, which simply renders their leadership worse than ineffective; it causes it to be destructive of the potential that exists within their reach.
When you are anchored you have a reference point, a basis for all your actions, decisions, interactions, everything you do.
In business, there will typically be a purpose, vision and values statement for that business. These may well provide guidance for leadership, but they are generic and superficial in many instances. But they do provide the initial test for your anchors; do they reflect a direction, way and destination consistent with who you are as a leader? And if not, it may well be a role in which you cannot be an effective leader.
As there are three expanding circles in leadership, there are three anchor points in your leadership which reflect:
- Your Core — Who you are as a person.
- Your Way — How you treat with others.
- Your Destination — What success looks like for you.
And again, as with the circles, these anchors are interconnected and find strength from each other.
These anchors reflect the values and principles you seek to hold yourself and your conduct true to, including how you see and interact with others. They are, I believe, a reflection and measure of your self-confidence and character. They also evidence your worldview of success.
Self-interest has no place in leadership, but many people seek leadership as a step ladder to greater personal success. However, self-interest is the antithesis of success. Leadership is about bringing potential to the forefront and applying it. This is why the expanding circles of leadership commence with making yourself an Achiever. And then being able to Enable others to achieve. With the final circle being the Catalyst for an entire Community (organisation) to succeed beyond everyone expectations.
Your ability as a leader to be an Achiever-Enabler-Catalyst rests in the strength of your anchoring. Anchoring requires introspection, the willingness to look at yourself in the mirror and see who you truly are as a person. And from that introspection being willing to grow, to continuously grow.
I do not believe that many leaders look at themselves in the mirror because they see leadership as a job, a role, something separate to whom they are outside work. Think of the expression, business is business, a saying that seeks to separate one’s actions inside work to whom they are outside. But of course, there is no separation you are who you are. And if you want to excel to your full potential as a leader, looking in the mirror is a critical and regular self-assessment activity.
Are you determining your journey as a leader, or is your job moulding you into someone you don’t want to be? Anchoring ensures you will not be disappointed when you look in the mirror.
Your core reflects ‘Who You Are As A Person’. It is the most inner element of you as a person.
What are the values, virtues, principles — whichever language resounds with you best — that you firmly hold yourself accountable to and upon which all your actions are measured. Can you write them down now?
These should be personal to you, held in your heart, and not grabbed from someone else or place.
I share with you mine simply as an example so you may reflect and develop your own. The virtues I strive to anchor myself in are:
- Courage: the willingness to take risks and stretch myself knowing that at times I will fail.
- Determination: the willingness to endure, not to give up and to have faith.
- Humility: the willingness to listen attentively and openly to others, to accept their views and consider their thoughts knowing that I am not always right.
- Love: a genuine care and concern for others no matter who they may be.
These are not easy, and you will not always get them right, but you will know the standard you have set for yourself. The ‘who’ you strive to be.
Your way reflects ‘How You Treat With Others’. And will clearly be an expression of your inner core. So, for example, if you are not a person who values humility, you may be challenged in accepting and listening to others.
Can you write down five points on how you expect and would like others to treat you at work and in business? This may well be the standard that you should set for yourself in your dealings with everyone else.
And l do not believe that who you are at work or in business needs nor should be any different to who you are outside of work. In fact, I don’t think they can be.
How you treat with others is how you will journey with others as a leader. Again, it is a benchmark that allows you to continuously self-assess and hold yourself to a standard that you believe will underpin your role as a leader.
Given I believe that your prime role as a leader is enablement, that is, bringing forth the potential that resides in others, there are a set of vital traits:
- A positive attitude to life and work.
- A gratitude for what has been achieved and given.
- A consciousness of words and language that always uplifts and encourages.
- Open honest conversations resting in active listening.
- Creativity, imagination and play.
Travelling in this way lifts potential for those you lead to the forefront.
Your destination reflects ‘What success looks like for you.’ It is your vision of where your journey is taking you and how that vision engages others. This image you hold of your destination (vision) is the summit you are striving towards, and it should be compelling. A destination that must be reached. And an image that others will also be compelled by.
Often success by default is defined by position, power and wealth (profit) which only seeds and feeds self-interest. If you define success in this way, if your leadership is a journey of personal success, you will only attract those who are also driven by self-interest, and you will disempower most of the potential that resides in the business.
If, however your destination, your motive, is about encouraging, uplifting and enabling others with a vision worthy of participation then your journey will be a very different one.
I cannot overstate the importance of defining success so that it seeds the right motive. A motive that will magnify and compound the potential within you and those you seek to lead.
I think at times we abandon who we are or who we strive to be because we tell ourselves we have no choice; I need this job, it’s no use fighting it, well the money makes it worthwhile. Great businesses are only seeded, built and sustained by leaders who know they always have a choice. And those choices are made on the basis on which they anchor their leadership. It is who they are, how they have decided they will lead, and the destination they strive to reach. Are you anchored?
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