Leadership decision making is not just for an elite few.
Do you make decisions for yourself about what you will do tomorrow, next week or next month? Do any of these decisions ever involve others, perhaps your work colleagues, friends or even your own children?
If you answer yes to these questions, then consider yourself a leader.
Have you been in a position where you were making choices about what to do next based on the information available at the time? Has anybody ever asked your advice because they consider that you have more knowledge or experience than they have? If so, then consider yourself a manager.
Paul Hawken says "We do not lead by being corporate, professional, or institutional. We lead by being human." What does he mean by this?
When most people want to do something different they usually set about learning new things, acquiring new skill sets, or engaging in different behaviors. They may read books to acquire information and generally the attention is external to find what it is 'out there' that will allow the movement in the chosen direction. 'If I was like him/her, then I could do it', or 'If I had his background, or her skills, then I'd be great.'
And yet this approach does not allow for great leadership decision making or give access to the quality that great leaders exhibit. It is often referred to as charisma, presence, an aura, a special 'something', an 'it' that seems to be so elusive.
Think about a year old child playing on the floor. There is something about the child that holds our attention, that is captivating, that influences us at a level that is before and beyond language. This is the element that great leaders and managers have an ability to utilize at will.
So in order to be able to lead and influence others we have to learn how to manage and lead ourselves first and foremost. If we want to be different, we have to stop being the way we are so that we can lead ourselves to become something else, something more.
We must learn to become more aware of ourselves so that we can begin to notice the impact we are having. What occurs next is the ability to make internal shifts and the skill to notice the effects it is having on others.
It is important to keep this in context and to remember that we are constantly having an impact on those around us anyway. The question is whether we are having the effect we want, or not. And if not, how do we adjust ourselves to alter the effect?
Consider a time when you were having just the right effect on those around you. I'm not necessarily talking about a situation where you were specifically chosen to lead a group and things worked out very well.
It could be a time when you decided to bring your family out shopping and it was time well spent for all. Or you chose the movie that you and your friends went to see and it was an excellent choice, or someone came to you with what they considered a problem and you were able to make several suggestions as possible options and they went away pleased and delighted with your advice because their problem was no more.
At times like these, how are you relating to the world and those around you? How are they relating to you?
Do you have a sense that you are at the centre of the universe and it is as if it is revolving around you?
If you could lead yourself to this position whenever you wanted, or even if you lived your life from here, how would things be different for you?
Being able to manage your internal experience so that you can lead from here is the essence of living your life from the inside out. Leadership decision making in this way means that instead of being tossed about by the universe and pulled and dragged by others, more and more you have the life that you want to be having and more and more you have the type of relationships that you most desire.
You attract into your life those people and things that allow you to continue along your own path... and this sort of leadership decision making means that not only are you on your own path, but it makes it easier for others to stay on theirs, too.
"We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are."
- Max DePree - Leadership is an Art
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