Let’s start with the premise that we are all leaders in some form. You do not have to be the leader of a team, an entire organization, association, community, state, or even a country. Because, at the very start, you are the leader of your life, which includes your career and personal life. The effectiveness of how you lead is directly connected to your level of success. Higher levels of success and achievement begin when each and every person takes responsibility for their own growth. Growth starts with self-awareness.
We tend to think that leadership comes from a title, a job, or something conferred on us or others from an outside source. So, premise number 2 is that leadership comes from within. The ability and desire to lead may be engrained in a person and they may be born with strong capabilities, but leaders are developed.
Leadership abilities are a must in today’s multicultural environment. Your ability to perform at your best and reach your highest potential is dependent on your confidence, engagement, competencies and beliefs and behaviors that have an impact. In addition to learned skills, we need to examine some internal factors that either hinder effective leadership or promote powerful abilities to connect, inspire and motivate.
Let’s explore 2 areas of leadership development: Physiological and Situational
Consider that during any day, you fluctuate through 7 levels energy (ways of being at any given time). This energy is what you have and bring to any task, and it includes the thoughts and emotions that help you interpret a situation, a person’s actions, and it influences your view of the world. At least one of these energetic levels determines the message you broadcast that others see, feel and detect at any given time. The fact is that you can shift how you are showing up.
This approach to leadership, along with the 7 levels, was developed by Bruce D Schneider, the founder of iPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching), which is the coaching school certification I hold and I often use this methodology with clients. Understanding this approach does not diminish a learned skill structure that you utilize and “do.” Rather, it supports your skills by utilizing your own physical, mental and emotional structure to determine how you want to “be.” It is dependent upon self-awareness
Consider that these energetic levels are attitudes. Merriam-Webster defines an attitude as …”a mental position with regard to a fact or state; a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state.” Attitude is everything. The first two levels are catabolic, meaning that they are destructive and draining, and the remaining 5 levels are anabolic, meaning that they are constructive and strengthening. The beliefs, emotions and thoughts behind each level affect your actions and results. The chart shows a brief description of these 7 attitudes/levels of energy:
|1 – Victim
|2 – Conflict
|3 – Responsibility
|4 – Concern
|5 – Reconciliation
|6 – Synthesis
|7 – Non-judgment
One of the amazing things about understanding how you are reacting or responding is that you can adapt to any situation – from the boardroom to the playground. How you interact with others and with yourself is at the core of successful relationships.
Your ability to perform at your best and reach your highest potential is dependent upon your confidence, engagement, competencies and beliefs, and behaviors that have an impact. In most situations, you either automatically react, or effectively respond.
What is the difference between reacting and responding? It is the difference between having a thoughtful approach to a situation, a person or behavior; or it is having an automatic comeback without consideration. Reactions happen instantaneously and are based on beliefs, assumptions or interpretations that trigger judgment, which is frequently habitual and reflects past experiences. Responding gives you the ability to thoughtfully ponder a situation and determine what may be the best approach.
It takes absolute awareness to build an understanding of the many behaviors that have driven and continue to drive our lives. The energy of a reaction is based on emotions that are triggered encountering something or someone. The energy of a response is not necessarily based on familiar, automatic habits, but rather comes from a pause that allows you to have the ability to respond to the situation with consciousness, curiosity, and exploration.
Reactions come from emotional reflexes based on split second beliefs that are either unconscious or conscious. Once you make a decision to “watch” the way you react, you can see how you are creating judgments that may be incorrect. Listening to your words that go along with the emotional reaction is a great way to understand what you think you believe, often based on history and misconceptions.
Noticing your reactions is important for recognizing biases. Even in the best organizations, navigating organizational culture is complex. Biases exist. We know that we all have biases, whether we admit that we do or not. But we often think of a bias as something that is directed elsewhere and miss the effect our own biases have on the ability to perform, excel and succeed. They shape your likes and dislikes, your judgments about people’s characters, abilities and potential, and opportunities.
Biases that impact performance are often found in energetic levels 1, 2 and 3. When you operate from a bias, you are judgmental and you do not interact from a place of awareness and strength; however, you can shift and the outcome will be productive and not the same old experience that potentially reinforces a negative belief or interaction. You have the ability to explore erroneous assumptions, limiting beliefs and interpretations that you attach to others or situations.
Learning to master your attitude and utilize an approach gives you access to solutions, dynamic relationships and performance excellence. When done with intention and commitment, implementation and practice, it will change the way you lead your career, organization, and life. You will remember to utilize these skills because they are not separate from you – they are not a set to learn and put on the shelf, someday looking for that binder from the workshop – but rather you are able to access internal tools that become natural and useable anytime you choose.
Take the Energy Leadership Index Assessment
If you would like to learn more about your energy and its impact on your leadership effectiveness, use the form below to request the Assessment from Rosalie. The Energy Leadership ™ Index (E.L.I.) is a one-of-a-kind assessment that enables leaders to hold up mirrors to their perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and overall leadership capabilities. The E.L.I. forms the initial launching point for the Energy Leadership Development System, giving you a baseline for your current performance and situation.