Thursday, August 30, 2007

 

Finding your True North

The output of effective leadership is often the same. Good leaders rally their teams around a vision, inspire them to action, and achieve incredible things through the proactive, willing activities of their teams.

The output of leadership is success. What goes into effective leadership isn't as consistent.

In True North, Bill George and Peter Sims explored the roots of effective, authentic leadership. By interviewing and studying effective leaders across the country, they found few universal characteristics, skills or styles that led to their success. Instead, they found that most effective leaders were successful because they had discovered their true inner strengths, and had harnessed those strengths into leadership qualities.

Those qualities or dimensions, George and Sims found, were actually quite consistent, and typically broke down into five areas:

- Pursue purpose with passion
- Practice solid values
- Lead with heart
- Establish enduring relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline

If true leadership is found less by studying best practices and textbooks, and more by discovering and leveraging what we're each individually and naturally best at, then it stands to reason that effective leadership is actually self-taught.

Effective leaders, over time, study themselves, become intimately aware of their strengths, and learn how to leverage those strengths to lead those around them. It's not a fast and easy process, and the road is paved with mistakes and hard lessons. But the end result is the kind of authentic leadership that can accelerate your success like nothing else.

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