Good news—bad news. You and the leaders, teammates, peers, and family, friends, and neighbors in your life are amazing human creations with unique talents, skills, and perspectives. But as amazing and valuable as these people are, we also must consistently respect, communicate, and manage the challenges that come with this uniqueness. It is the duty and privilege of honorable leaders.
It’s not Rocket Science
Humans are not rocket science, because that would be easy in comparison. As complex and technical as rocket science can be, at least it’s logical, linear, and rational. Human beings, by comparison, are even more complex, emotionally unpredictable, and can’t be controlled with a set of scientific rules! This reality is what makes life and especially leadership intriguing, exciting, and sometimes frustrating. Why can’t it be easier? Let’s look at the plain truth about the human domain.
The Human Paradox
We all have amazing potential. Regardless of the environment and status in which you were born and raised, you can still go to the top. A quick comparison of these four men are great examples–Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln or George Washington Carver and Barack Obama. Different backgrounds and experience but attaining impressive achievements.
The paradox of human behavior can be maddening:
- We’re brilliant and beautiful, but foolish and flawed.
- We’re learned and logical, yet rash and random.
- We’re sensitive and sensible, yet selfish and stubborn.
- We’re generous and gentle, yet greedy and gruff.
On a given day, any of us can fit any of these descriptions, depending on the situation. The list could go on for pages, but you see the point. We’re an unpredictable species, and it’s no wonder we have a hard time in relationships.
“Becoming a skilled, emotionally intelligent, honorable leader trying to keep a team of people focused on a common goal isn’t for cowards; it’s dedication and courage personified.” [Tweet This]
In three previous articles**, we’ve dissected the topic of core identity and discussed the importance of knowing your true self. After all, self-management and self-leadership come first before managing others. If you can muster more courage, let’s go deeper this month and reflect on the most sensitive part of your identity—your doubts and fears. You will have to be vulnerable and humble, but it’s a gutsy move that frees you to grow more confident and secure.
Insecure vs Secure
Consider the graphic here showing insecure self on the left side and a secure self on the right side –
On this continuum, notice that the red individual has moved from left to right; the green individual has moved from right to left. For the most part, these movements are based on feelings and emotions that ultimately affect our behavior. This is especially true when we’re insecure, being threatened, experiencing doubts and fears, or trying to fight off negative feedback or self-defeating behaviors. Regardless of the battle, leaders want to move to the right and that’s not easy.
Here are four practical steps that will get you to move in the right direction, literally and figuratively:
1. Recognize your doubts and fears. They are present in every human being and except for a little doubt to keep us humble and aware of our real vulnerability, doubts and fears always undermine our success. What can you do to begin noticing these cancers in our core?
2. Remember who you are. You are a capable person with strong values. You have fought battles before to keep your commitments, to own your responsibilities, to stand for what you believe in and to do the right thing.
3. Reflect on how you will respond in a wise and healthy way. This often means checking in with your support group of trusted advisors.
“If you’re afraid to share your leadership challenges with a trusted inner circle, then you’re standing on dangerous ground.” [Tweet This]
They can help you see the terrain more objectively and could also be a good sounding board for your plan. This reflection step is critical so that you can respond as a secure, healthy person, even though the situation may be a scary one.
4. Respond. Go do it, but make sure it’s done with confidence and a positive attitude that is respectful of others. Your response may be a yes for one person—that makes them happy, or a no for another person—that makes them unhappy. That’s okay. You have evaluated your response and made your choice that is based on love for yourself and others. This is healthy behavior, but it’s not guaranteed that their response will be healthy! Remember that you moved your position to the right as a more secure, confident and genuine person.
You Can Do It
As honorable leaders, we’re all in this journey together. If you don’t have an inner circle of advisors who are also focused on honorable leadership, seek them out and be generous with your time and counsel, too. We value your counsel and advice on this topic, too—please add a comment below.
<<<Watch this month’s free Leading with Honor coaching clip on this topic — sign up to get instant access. Your information is safe with us.>>>
**Here are the three previous articles in this “Core Identity” article series:
- Article #1 – “Defining Your Core Leadership Identity: Back to Square One”
- Article #2 – “How to Strengthen Your Core Leadership Identity”
- Article #3 – “Securing Your True Leadership Self”
Related Free Resources:
Over 30 ways to lead with more freedom! This infographic has been downloaded by thousands of people wanting to assess where they are in being an honorable leader. See where you stand…
How do you gain courage for those challenging conversations without withdrawing or dominating? The key is stay engaged and communicate with respect, love, confidence, yet humility. Leading with Honor has the perfect tool to help you called the Courage Challenge Card.