Friday, September 19, 2014

Practice Centered Leadership

There are different definitions of centered leadership out there, and each has merit. I highly recommend reading the book "Centered Leadership" by Joanna Barsh. She takes a different view on centered leadership and yet it's harmonious with what I call centered leadership. It's a good read, filled with instantly usable advice on becoming a better leader. 

Here is a brief summary of my idea of centered leadership:

Centered leadership requires constant development in both the skills of leading and the character of leadership.

Centered leaders maintain the core of their character while selecting and using the leadership skills necessary for each specific situation.

Centered, high performance leadership achieves positive, goal oriented results while leading with clarity, courage, creativity and compassion. Centered leaders are dynamic. They find the point of focus, the center, of each moment to be able to operate with a sense of balance and well being.

They identify their core area of strength (and personality preference) while developing their opportunities for improvement. Centered leaders also draw on the strengths and talents of others, recognizing and encouraging diversity.

The strengths and values of centered leadership include:
Courage: Practicing the strength and character it takes to face and act on meaningful challenges in support of people and purpose.

Compassion: Caring for other people, their feelings, needs and dreams.

Creativity:  Distilling and developing ideas into innovative products and services. Keeping an open mind and exploring new territory constantly.

Clarity: Refining, improving, analyzing, and covering details clearly, openly, honestly, and with absolute integrity. Reducing ambiguity and eliminating hidden agendas.

Centering: Staying focused and grounded in the face of conflict, stress, and challenge.

This is our definition of Centered Leadership. It draws on decades of research on the topic of leadership as well as the wealth of information available using various personality sorters. 

Slightly different, but I do keep Joanna Barsh's book close to my desk. As we say in improv, it doesn't have to be an either/or decision -- it can be both/and.

My main tweet of the day is this:

We feel whatever we practice, so why not practice clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion?

Some days that takes patience. Some days that takes development. In the end, we will reap the results of our character. Building strong, balanced, centered character leads to better results and happier feelings. Isn't that worth working for?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

If you're interested in learning more about how to be a more centered leader, Front Range Leadership takes a centered leadership approach in our work of training supervisors for success. Learn more about our workshops here and our teleclasses here.

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