Your parents…

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot really segment who you are in a work persona and a private persona. If you think you can: go back to a situation where you found yourself drawn in at work. At the core, did you respond any differently there from how you would have if you got drawn in privately?

Your personal story travels with you wherever you go, so it makes sense to do work to find out where it’s helping you and where it gets in your way.

In assessing leadership, next to other things, I use the frame of authenticity and congruency.

I would define authenticity as a key aspect in being able to be an effective leader. If you have done personal work, know who you are and what you stand for, it becomes relatively easy to communicate authentically and effectively.

Then there is congruency. I would define this in the simplest terms as walking your talk.

A leader is both the biggest enabler as well as the biggest blocker for the change she wants to accomplish.

Whenever he is even merely perceived to be off the mark on authenticity or congruency, people will use it as an excuse not to adopt the behaviours needed to achieve goals or to not engage at all.

I come from a school of therapy that says you learn a first response to pressure or stress which is physically observable. Since you started doing that when you where pretty young, the chances that you can reprogram yourself to stop doing it are fairly slim. You can learn to recognise it when it happens. Take it in and learn to adopt different behaviour. But take it in you must, otherwise you’re effectively perpetuating a stance that may have worked for you when you were five, but isn’t necessarily very useful when you are 35.

To give you an example: I tend to respond to some stressful situations by being scared. So I might freeze and “check out”. Unless I recognise this, acknowledge it and reset myself, imagine what being in a team event run by me would look like…

What’s your first response? How does it get in your way?

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