Just as experts in fitness tout the benefits of strengthening your “core,” fostering transformational leadership in yourself and your organization means building a different kind of strong “core.”
Core strength in fitness is the sturdy central link between the upper and lower body. Most necessary motions either originate in it or move through it, therefore the core impacts almost everything you do.
A weak core can impact mobility in the arms and legs, and can sap power from any activity. Likewise, the strength of your core as a leader impacts everything you do while a weak core saps your power.
What does it take to build this kind of strength as a leader?
As with exercise, you start where you are.
First, let’s begin the “workout” by closely examining the answer to two questions:
1. What actually orients my thinking and speaking as a leader right now?
2. Where does it emanate from?
You might say that your commitments, purpose or vision orient you and make up your core of leadership.
However, in strengthening your center you may need to dig deeper.
If you do courageously take a deeper look, you may find some concealed assumptions, old reactions or politics at play.
These sap organizational muscle, as do hidden personal agendas, lack of integrity, and internal conflicts. Unwritten rules about what you see are possible also sap power and creativity, as do embedded beliefs.
Questions you can use to dig into those hidden assumptions, beliefs and old mindsets are:
1. How do I view this project, the future, and/or our current results?
2. What unwritten rules and assumptions are shaping my/our view of what is possible?
3. Upon what past or present beliefs and assumptions is this view based?
4. Are my colleagues and I really acting consistent with our vision and commitments now? Is there a gap? What would others around me/us say about this question?
Congruence between words and actions empower others
Wherever words and actions are inconsistent people will hear the words, but remain untouched and you will find that they will not move into effective action as a result.
Engaging others openly in the inquiry with you on these questions will empower the whole process.
Often what has not been examined holds us back from creativity, innovation, and extraordinary possibilities. Simply revealing these assumptions begins to open up access to a new world of inspired vision, action, and results.
Developing the inner strength to see and own what may weaken you is a powerful first step and best done with trusted colleagues or a consultant.
COMING NEXT: How one large organization gets stronger by examining the perspectives and behaviors that weakened their “core.”