Throughout your career, I'm sure you've seen many power hungry people attempting to use their title only to fall flat on their face? Conversely, there are just as many "unsung heroes" who operate in the background galvanizing teams and motivating people who don't even report into them. By your own work experience you understand that authentic leadership is so much more than a title; it's about who you are at your core.
And that doesn't mean you are either a natural born leader or not. It turns out that leadership has 7 different dimensions: (1) Physical Intelligence, (2) Emotional Intelligence, (3) Heart Intelligence, (4) Communication Intelligence, (5) Pragmatic Intelligence, (6) Neuroscience Intelligence, and (7) Consciousness Intelligence. All of which are covered in Nicole Heimann's book How to Develop the Authentic Leader In You, published earlier this year.
I had an opportunity to sit down and interview Nicole Heimann and the full interview is available to you here:
Nicole Heimann does a fabulous job of breaking down each dimension of leadership in her book. And while each dimension can be improved upon, her central theme throughout the book is to start by being your authentic self. "If you want to be your best self," Heimann writes, "it is crucial that you know yourself, understand your behaviors, your intrinsic motivations, your strengths, but also your self-sabotaging mechanisms under distress."
From Intimacy Comes "Into-me-see"
Authentic leaders establish real connections with everyone around them. As Brene Brown says, "I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." How well are we doing this day in and day out? Do your colleagues truly feel heard and valued? Often in the business context, we shy away from vulnerability and intimacy, but that's what builds trust with those you work with every day. Are you seeing your team for who they really are and, likewise, do they see you at the core of your being?
"We are reaching out and creating bonding and intimacy," Heimann explains. "With intimacy, we mean 'into-me-see', it means that you are seeing the other person, the other human being at the other side of the table with whom you are having a discussion."
Only when someone feels seen, heard and valued will then then listen to what you have to say and, as appropriate, follow your leadership.
Forget Your Title And Be Yourself
All too often we get promoted to a role where we believe we need to act a certain way to be congruent with the role. And the more we attempt to live into the essence of the role we believe we must play, we depart from our true nature - the very thing that got us promoted into the role in the first place. The further the distance from your authentic self, the more uncomfortable in the role you will be (and the less likely people will want to follow your lead).
"A title of CEO or CFO or Marketing Director doesn't automatically make you a good leader," says Heimann. "It is 'who you are', the essence of your being, your authentic core that naturally makes people want to follow you as a leader or not."
Heimann goes on to ask, "Who are you when you are not your job title?"
How to Develop the Authentic Leader In You is about getting back to the core of who you are and being acutely aware of the 7 dimensions of leadership intelligence. Each dimension provides opportunities for growth as a leader so long as it begins from the core of who you really are. That is, after all, where you must lead from if you are to be a successful leader.
And isn't that refreshing to know that at your core, you already have the foundation to be an exceptional leader - everything you need is already inside you. It's simply about removing the artificial barriers the stop us from reaching our true potential. Awareness that these barriers even exist is the first step. Heimann's book will help you get a much deeper understanding of what stops you and how to overcome what prevents us from being the exceptional leaders we were meant to be.
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