Early in 2020, I released a publication called LEAD: A Guide To Fostering Perpetual Leadership (https://www.leadperpetually.com/). This leadership guide is available as a hardback or eBook. Little did I know that the world’s commerce would get interrupted immediately after its release. Over several months, I have coached leaders as they quickly needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because I had taken the time to document and list four leadership principles that have shored up my leadership experiences over the years, I was ready and uniquely qualified to help my clients navigate their rediscovery of themselves or their businesses. Looking back, I am humbled to say that many of my clients used the remaining time in 2020 as the virus spread to be better prepared for their future. Their businesses and families seem better positioned today than they were in March 2020. Because many are no longer commuting several miles a day, they have found time to exercise, eat better, spend time with family, and improve their mindfulness.
From a leadership perspective, they learned to use my simple principles to shore up their toolboxes for dealing with and leading people by leading outwardly as opposed to leading inwardly. This all starts with the four leadership principles to LEAD(Listen, Explore, Affirm, and Decide).
In addition to these four leadership principles, my clients have adopted my leadership terms. I defined two forms of leadership while defining my four leadership principles. They are Inward LEADing and Outward LEADing.
Inward (Outside -In) LEADing is what you traditionally see in the workplace. Everyone is led by the chief leader, who is the center of attention or focus. This leader sets the vision, and everyone follows it. I use the term Outside-In because the learner is being led from goals/motives outside of themselves to achieve what the chief leader wants. If they don’t follow, they risk not being a major positive contributor to the organization. This happens on teams all time and, frankly, it’s expected in a major corporation or business.
When I worked in the large corporate environment, a clear “golden” rule was, He who owns the gold rules. I don’t know who originally said it, but we all believed it and behaved accordingly. It was the chief leader way or the highway. This model has its place, but that is not the type of leadership that is most effective today.
Outward (Inside-Out) LEADing is taking the time to lead someone where they want or need to go. If you are not leading where the follower/learner wants to go, you have to ask yourself if you’re truly leading. Outward LEADing is leading outside of your interest, bias, and thoughts. You are helping unlock the capacity of the learner.
This is true even for those in faith-based organizations. Often in faith-based organizations, persons might suggest to someone with a dream or goal that one should unlock their hidden potential. While I like the intention behind that statement, I believe unlocking your potential is just a start and still not enough. That is because potential itself is still limiting. However, our minds and abilities are created such that our capacity is not limited. This is because a person’s capacity can increase over time. As you hone your talent and your faith relationship with your spiritual source grows, your capacity also grows. Remember leaders can be shaped and taught.
Many have found that this Outward approach to leading can and should be used for change, succession planning, maturing children, or the birthing of business or ministry. We are unlocking the dreams and hopes from within our followers person by leading them to achieve what they feel is most important to their destinies.
My principles follow a Leader-Learner format. Traditionally, people consider the Leader to be the one with more power. When you employ the Outward Leading techniques of LEAD, however, you gain power via influence, not from hierarchy or position. Using the power of influence you ultimately allow the learner to make appropriate decisions for themselves instead of the leader telling them what to do. I’ve found these techniques to be extremely impactful in my life, because I’m leading beyond what I can do and, hopefully, beyond where I have been.
In 2021, become a better leader. Try outward leading. What you had before COVID may never return, but what you can gain now has not even been imagined. If you want to make a difference for your organization and family's future, learn how to integrate the principles and techniques I outlined in LEAD. Make a difference in your circle of influence. Become a better leader of leaders as you sharpen your leadership skills and change.