Leadership Bites: Know Yourself
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Leadership Wood Buffalo is a program which has been in place for over 10 years in the region and has influenced and guided over 200 alumni from the private sector and the public sector alike. As the organization stewarding this program, FuseSocial is sharing “leadership bites:” short exercises or thoughts on leadership qualities. For more information on our Leadership Wood Buffalo program, click here.
Leadership is an important theme in Wood Buffalo. In many ways, this community accelerates the pace at which people have the opportunity to take on leadership roles by decades thanks to the number of people who come here on the “five year plan” to further their careers and then move on to other communities.
An available job, however, is only part of the equation of becoming a leader. The most effective leaders are able to tap into their own values, strengths, passions, skills and goals in order to work with the people they lead to fulfill their common mission. This means that a good early step in developing strengths as a leader is to spend some time learning what those things are. Like Socrates and other classic philosophers said, “Nosce Te Ipsum.” Know yourself.
List your accomplishments
Danielle Harlan, Ph.D suggests the first step for finding your personal leadership identity is to list your accomplishments. Try to think of 20 very specific things you have done that you are proud of – “I made it through the first week of Couch to 5K,” or (she specifically recommends) “I stood up to the class bully and got my butt kicked!” Try to be as specific as possible. Once you have them, you can choose a few to break down what they mean to you.
- What do these accomplishments say about your personal values?
- What do they say about your character strengths?
- Your passions and interests?
- Your professional skills?
- The ideal conditions that lead to you having success?
Once you have spent some time finding your personal values, strengths, skills and ideal conditions for success, that list can help you tap into who you are as a leader.
These steps can take some time, both to think of the things you are proud of accomplishing as well as what they say about you as a person and as a leader. That’s fine. You have spent a lifetime becoming who you are, few people are able to figure themselves out in an hour, a day, or a month: self-discovery and reflection ideally are an ongoing process.
For more on personal leadership and growth, check out the resources available in our Leadership Library section of our website. Check out reviews for Danielle Harlan’s book on Goodreads. You can also find out more about our Leadership Wood Buffalo Program, including how to apply for our latest cohort of leaders.