Leadership is Self Leadership

By April 9, 2014 No Comments

Here’s a great piece on leadership from friend and colleague Luke Iorio.  He is President and CEO of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and an expert in management consulting and entrepreneurship.  I’ve enjoyed his insights through the years and think you will, too, so here’s a recent article in which he talks about effective leadership beginning with the man (or woman) in the mirror. — Maurice Gilbert


The majority of leadership articles focus on what you can do to better lead, impact and influence others.  However, leading others isn’t possible unless you’re first leading yourself.

Those around you follow your lead, right? At least that’s the intention.

You want your colleagues to be more proactive, to understand how they ‘re impacting others, to speak up, to take ownership over and responsibility for what’s going on, to be open to discussing the tough topics and a whole host of other tangible and mostly intangible qualities.

What are the qualities you’re seeking in your colleagues and your team?  How well are you really exhibiting these qualities now?  How would others rate you on these qualities?

Leadership starts with you: how you view your situation(s), how you show up and how you interact with others. Your behavior (what people can see) is a direct reflection of what you think.

Your actions and behaviors are a direct result of whatever emotions you’re feeling. Those emotions shape how you behave and what people feel on the receiving end of your actions and communications. Your thoughts are a collection of experiences over the course of your personal and professional life and those accumulated thoughts create a filter through which you see your circumstances, as well as other people. What this boils down to is…how we lead others is a direct result of our belief system.

So, for example, if we’re going to provide performance feedback, our associations of the challenge or reward of those conversations heavily shape the way we show up.  If you want a better result from those conversations, don’t place your focus on what the other person should do differently (you can’t really control that). Instead ask yourself, “How did I show up?”  Consider what you may have contributed to the outcome.  Your half of the equation is what you always have control over (if you’re conscious of it).

Let’s examine a few key areas that’ll help you lead yourself first, and in turn, make you even more effective in leading others.

  • Check Your Interpretations – How might your previous experiences with similar situations be affecting what you’re seeing in front of you now? Interpretations or perceptions are just one angle, just one vantage point. There are many other ways to view any situation. How is your view helping you?  Or holding you back?  Or potentially going to impact the way you show up in your next conversation?  Meeting?  Decision?
  • Oppose Your View – One of the most effective strategies that highly successful executives employ is looking for the contrary view of their perspective.  Those leaders consider not only their view, but they also consider how a completely opposite view could also be true and valid.  If they can’t find that contrarian perspective, they ask others for it because, in any situation, additional vantage points provide more information; more information typically yields more choices; and more choices usually give a greater chance to select the best route toward one’s goals.
  • Determine how you will interact – Think about how you want to show up, who you want to be, what energy you want to lead with BEFORE you jump into interacting with your team.  If you’re headed into a difficult meeting, know where you’re at and then determine what’s the best attitude for you to have that will bring about the desired result.  Exceptional leaders prepare not just what they’re going to say and do, but HOW they’re going to say and do it. They want their message to be infused with the emotion and energy that’ll inspire, motivate and move people to perform in a way that’ll create momentum, impact and progress.

All of the above starts with the leader first. The leader decides what he or she wants to model.  The leader looks within and checks biases at the door. The leader chooses how he or she wants to show up and models that attitude and behavior for the team.

How will you “show up” starting today?

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” – Author Unknown

This piece was run originally in The CEO Magazine and is republished here with permission.

Luke IorioLuke Iorio, President & CEO of iPEC, came to iPEC from the marketing and management consultant industry. Working with entrepreneurs, he quickly found the missing ingredient between those that succeeded and those that didn’t: Engagement! Making the switch from consultant to coach, Luke empowers individuals to fully and powerfully engage in all that they do, having a positive and contagious impact on all those they touch in both their personal and professional lives. Playing full out, Luke brings a tremendous amount of energy, passion and focus to everything he does. Since 2005, Luke and his team have now graduated more than 6,000 coaches and Coach Centric™ leaders across multiple platforms – top executives in Fortune 500s, pioneering entrepreneurs, incredible nonprofit founders and educational leaders and professional athletes. Luke has an avid interest in human potential, engagement, and performance. Through coaching sessions with hundreds of clients as well as varied research projects, he seeks out the common threads that produce exceptional individual and team successes. He’s also an avid blogger and expert resource, having been quoted in The Huffington PostFox Business, andNext Avenue, among many other publications.    

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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