I find that one of the most valuable exercises that I do to develop leaders is to reflect on the moments that have shaped them. Together, we spend time getting a clear understanding of the life experiences that have impacted the way they view the world. This becomes the foundation to build their leadership vision.
One of my clients was not able to build strong relationships with his people. He had a head for business, but lacked the ability to connect with people in a meaningful way. We spent some time exploring the events of his life and key moments of truth that had shaped him. Through this process I encouraged him to identify and own his values and understand how they impacted his leadership. The next step was to communicate these values and the “stories” behind them.
What was misunderstood behavior became understood. Trust developed. His people began to understand what was important to him and why. They could reflect on the stories and link them to his leadership values. The edges softened and relationships started to form. There was a shift and people wanted to follow his lead.
Some of the questions to explore are:
• Consider your leadership experiences and identify the top 4 that have influenced you today.
• What common themes emerge?
• What are the leadership lessons?
• Identify any defining moments in your life that essentially shaped who you are as a leader
• How can you communicate these themes with your people to help them understand you better?
Once you understand the roots of your own leadership style, you will be better able to communicate effectively with your people and work on leadership development yourself.