What if I asked you to introduce yourself this way: Hi, my name is <Your Name> and I cause … <insert what you cause here>.
You might have reacted like many other very clever people have when I’ve asked that question. Blank looks. Wondering what on earth I had on my cornflakes this morning.
I am going to enlighten you shortly. But right now, please sit with that question in front of your mind. Keep wondering. “What Does My Leadership Actually Cause?“
Reflecting on Leadership
I talk for a living. If you listen to my Mum she says I was born talking. Nothing much has changed, except now it’s my job!
These days, I talk a lot about leadership and what it means. Especially in the context of leading diverse and inclusive workplaces. The world is always talking about leadership and I find it fascinating to watch the different ways leaders are shaping the world we live in.
Volatility, uncertainty, change, and ambiguity are the hallmarks of society and our workplaces. V.U.C.A. sums up what is going on in the world. It is bloody busy!
In all that busyness, how often do you stop to reflect on what leadership means to you? Have you stopped to consider what YOUR approach to leadership means to others? The others that you lead, the others that lead you, and those who benefit (or not?) from your leadership impact?
Do You Know What You Cause?
Here is an opportunity for leaders to reflect. Please stop and think. What happens:
1. When you walk into a room?
2. When you walk out of a room?
3. When you have a one-on-one conversation?
4. When you hold a meeting?
5. When you’re at a conference or expo?
6. When you write an email?
7. When you post on social media?
8. When you walk around your workplace?
Do you ‘CAUSE’ things like:
Or does something else happen?
3 Ways to Check What You Cause
Three other ways to ask the question
1. How do you show up as a leader?
2. Who are you called to become as a leader?
3. Who you are in service to as a leader?
· Do you show up in service of yourself or others?
· Do you know who you are called to become as a leader?
· Do you understand who you are in service to as a leader?
If you don’t, then that is ok. For now. But now is the time to take ownership of understanding what your leadership causes.
What Do Great Leaders Cause?
Effective Leaders Are Self-aware, Authentic and Inclusive
The key to being an effective, authentic, and inclusive leader is to be purposeful and deliberate. The key is to understand the impact your leadership behaviour has.
You must be crystal clear about how you show up. You must have clarity about what you cause, who you are in service of, and who you are called to become. If you are not purposeful and deliberate, about your leadership impact, you are not delivering as an inclusive leader.
Like you, I’ve listened to a bunch of people like me talking about leadership. Like you, I’ve also undertaken my fair share of personal and professional development.
Here are two things I have learned:
1. Good leadership development work includes reflective exercises.
2. GREAT leadership development work asks you to dig deep, hold up the mirror and move beyond the superficial and towards mastery as a leader.
How Might I Cause the Right Things? (as a leader)
The road to leadership mastery is a lifelong journey. There is no shortcut. But here’s a great exercise for you that will cost your time and your effort. Nothing else.
This practical exercise will teach you how to write your leadership philosophy. This process will enable you to consider your life, your leadership journey, the people and events that have shaped you.
“Stand upright, speak thy thought, declare the truth thou hast, that all may share. Be bold. Proclaim it everywhere. They only live who dare”
“Be aware of what you cause, who you are in service to and who you are called to become, and declare it!”
The process of developing a leadership philosophy is not a new one. It is common practice in the US armed forces for top-ranking officials to develop and declare their leadership philosophy. Your leadership philosophy will become your north star and will guide you in the way you live, work and lead.
What Do I Cause?
I first wrote my leadership philosophy (what I cause) in 2015. So, here is what I cause:
I want to make a difference no matter what I am doing and I am not often satisfied with the status quo. I fundamentally believe that every person has choices in life therefore I have little tolerance for blame cultures or people who shirk their responsibilities and duty. I try to always work with a positive, growth mindset and do everything I can to create an environment where people can achieve success by ensuring that they have a clear purpose, vision and roadmap along with each person knowing what they need to contribute. I lead from the front, but not too far in front. What that means to me, and to the people I lead is that I promise to create a vision, take them on a journey, get out of the way to allow them to shine but to be there when they need me. And I always keep my promises.
I loathe labels and boxes. I am called to become someone who challenges the world to rid itself of unnecessary boxes, labels and other limiting beliefs and behaviours. I don’t like being placed into a one-dimensional category as no one category could possible describe the complex, flawed, passionate, energetic, positive leader that I am and I promise not to do that to anyone else.
I am called to become a champion of people, a positive role model for women and to advance women and girls worldwide. I promise that I will continue to be courageous and give my whole self, to be purposeful and always understand what I cause.
Authentic and inclusive leaders understand the story of their life and glean meaning from their experiences. Authentic and incusive leaders embrace vulnerability, hold themselves to account, and are guided daily by their leadership philosophy. Authentic and inclusive leaders understand what they cause!
So, I’m now asking you again. What do you cause?
If you or your organisation want to move your focus on inclusive, equitable, and high-performing leadership from conversation to action, then please contact Michelle for a no-obligation discussion.