It is your responsibility as a manager to guide your employees and advance your company. However, in today’s fast-paced and constantly-changing business environment, traditional approaches to leadership that rely on positional power and external authority are becoming less and less effective.
So, how can you lead successfully in the modern world? You might be surprised by the answer: inner leadership.
A comprehensive approach to leadership I’d call “inner leadership” places a strong emphasis on self-awareness and self-activation. It involves being aware of your own ideals, qualities, and shortcomings and using this awareness to direct your behaviors and choices. Taking personal responsibility for your own development and growth rather than relying on positional or outside authority is also in that path.
One instance of traditional leadership versus inner leadership would be a manager seeking to inspire and involve their team.
Utilizing traditional leadership methods, the manager may try to control and steer their staff by exploiting their positional power and authority, enforcing rigid rules and expectations, and using rewards and penalties to spur performance.
But using inner leadership strategies, the manager adopts a different strategy. To establish a productive and encouraging work atmosphere, they begin by developing a thorough grasp of the values, talents, and motivations of their team members. They will put an emphasis on developing trust and a genuine concern for their team members as well as open communication and collaboration. Additionally, they could place a focus on developing themselves personally, establishing priorities and goals, and looking for chances to learn and grow both individually and as a team.
In this case, the manager will be better able to engage and motivate their staff in the long run by focusing on fostering a positive and supportive culture as opposed to solely depending on external rewards and penalties. Due to their commitment to ongoing learning and development, they are also likely to be more flexible and adaptable to the shifting demands and difficulties faced by their team.
You do need to think about what matters most to you in life and what you want to accomplish and spread at work if you want to practice inner leadership. This is a difficult task in and of itself, so if you’re interested in learning how to accomplish it while still managing your daily activities, stay tuned (That’s one of our next posts).
But then if you put some effort into choosing a course of action, accepting responsibility will seem less heavy and easier. Additionally, you feel more comfortable communicating that direction. Ironically, many people follow an external authority for guidance because they don’t feel they have the ability or freedom to properly say and do what they believe in at their workplace. We sometimes confuse the ability needed to express your opinions and beliefs in a way that advances company goals for that lack of freedom. Ie. if you don’t have the skill to share your beliefs in a way that resonates with your seniors, you might mistake initial failure as evidence for lack of freedom from your seniors. Ultimately creating a shut-up-and-do-what-you’re-expected-to-do culture.
Even the occasionally hard to work with Steve Jobs once commented, “We don’t recruit smart people to tell them what to do, we hire smart people to tell us what to do.”
When you begin to walk the path of inner leadership, you’ll discover that being able to speak up and choose your own way will enable you to accomplish your objectives, followed by compliments from your peers and, increasingly frequently, your seniors.
Why then does it change everything? Inner leadership presents a more flexible and long-lasting approach to leadership in a world that is always changing and evolving. It helps foster a culture of growth and development and enables leaders to be more responsive to the demands and difficulties of their team and organization. Additionally, it positions you to position yourself as a leader rather to just a manager of tasks and projects. All because it places a strong emphasis on both self-activation and self-awareness. In a powerful way, inner leadership enables leaders to uplift and encourage others while assisting people in leading fulfilling lives. In essence, developing your inner leadership will help you realize your full potential and succeed in both your personal and professional lives.
Want to learn more about how to exactly go about moving into inner leadership, stay tuned and sign up for our email list.