Monday, July 29, 2013

What's between your Lead & your Er?

I've been studying and reflecting on my own leadership this summer. As I have been writing my weekly blog and presenting to educators, a reoccurring thought continues to surface. What do I lead?

I could respond that I lead a campus, a great staff or some other grandiose tangible answer. But to get to the heart of what kind of leader I am, a better question to ask is what verb is between my Lead and my Er?

A leader facilitates or guides others to emulate actions and behaviors that are a natural part of his subconscious behavior. His leadership is manifested in his values and attitude. Sure, a leader's words are important, but people follow action not title or position.   

The gap between a person's 'Lead' and 'Er' boils down to one common thread, the behaviors and values that he employs to guide others.  To take this thought a bit deeper, one could say that combining the leader's action of affinity with the 'Er' represents his inner psyche better known as the id. 

So how do we find out what our id is? Lets analyze 2 types of leaders. 

Transformational leaders place progressive verbs like learn, motivate, innovate, create, communicate and collaborate in between their 'Lead' & 'Er'.  In essence, the greatest leaders model these actions of aspiration to such a deep degree of inspiration that the culture is compelled to adopt these values.

Transactional leaders also have actions between their 'Lead' & 'Er', but these managerial-style and top-down actions negatively impact the campus. I'm talking about verbs such as the following: critique, evaluate, correct, blame, direct, etc. If these leaders primarily employ these behaviors as the core of their leadership persona, the culture will respond in kind with reactionary behaviors that are defensive in posture and protective in nature. 

To discover what's between your  'Lead' & 'Er', the answer is not what you believe about yourself. It's actually what others perceive you to be. The best way to reveal what's between your 'Lead' and your 'Er' is to ask others what they believe is important to you. 

The answers to these questions may surprise or affirm you. If they affirm, your words are aligned with your transformational actions. If you are surprised, then it is time to identify the gap that truly exists between the leader you desire to be and the leader that you are today.

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