Leadership development has been a topic of conversation in just about every area of life for some time. According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, leadership is defined as the office or position of a leader, capacity to lead and the act or instance of leading. Unfortunately none of these definitions really give us a clear picture of what a good leader looks like or how they live or what they do. Our goal in this post is to dive into what a leader looks like and how we as leaders can develop more leaders who can make a greater impact on the world around us.
It should be made abundantly clear that I operate from a distinctly Christian perspective so my views on leadership and what that looks like will undoubtedly be shaped by that worldview. However the principles of leadership will be transferrable across the variety of life stations in which we find ourselves. This leadership conversation will unfold over the next several weeks as we dig into different approaches to leadership development and establishing a leadership culture and pipeline.
To really get at the heart of leadership we must understand that we will need to make a cultural shift to align our actions and our thinking and our believing. Consider a pyramid to help visualize. The bottom layer of the pyramid is the foundation. It’s what we really believe. It contains the non-negotiables of our life. The next layer up however often is incongruent with the foundation layer. This middle layer represents the spoken beliefs. This is how we communicate. It’s what we say. The final layer is the smallest later and often doesn’t line up with the previous two layers all that well. This layer represents the things we do and trail we leave behind us in leadership.
As we evaluate our personal life, home life, business, church or any other area of life do our actual beliefs and values line up with what we say about them. And equally important does that line up with what we actually are doing? Use personal fitness as an example.
Actual Beliefs: At our core we can believe that we need to eat healthy and workout more consistently. We believe that in our heart of hearts. We look at the scale and don’t like the number we see. We’re convicted that this is the only way to go.
Spoken Beliefs: Even though on the inside we know our food selections need to contain less carbs and less fats, it’s still all too easy to talk about our cravings for different non healthy foods. We know we should be spending more time working out but the words we say don’t line up with our core beliefs and values.
Actions: While we want to stick to our new eating plan, our actions all too often give a little too much room to deviate from our actual beliefs. So we stop at a local fast food joint or eat ice cream even though it’s not in our diet or we skip the workout because we just don’t feel up to it today.
The challenge for leaders is to make sure that they create a healthy culture of leadership development where our core beliefs and our spoken beliefs and our actions are all inline with one another. When our beliefs, words and actions don’t line up, we are seen as hypocrites and we lack integrity. As we seek to develop a healthy and strong leadership culture, it is essential to make certain our values, words and actions are all going in the right direction. When this happens it will be possible to develop a strong leadership pipeline that leads to significant organizational change.
- How well do your thoughts, words and actions line up?
- What are your core beliefs?
- How do your core beliefs come out in your everyday conversations?
- In what areas do your actions speak differently than your words and beliefs?
- Who can you bring alongside you to hold you accountable to a more integrity centered lifestyle?