Don't focus on the people you lead. First, focus on yourself.
That's the underlying premise of Kimberly Davis's Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Powerful, and Authentic Self to Get the Results You Need, one of the books I included in 6 Great Business Books to Read in 2018.
Many people adopt some sort of leadership persona, in effect acting the way they think leaders should behave.
But if you want to be a great leader, you need to have the courage to be yourself.
"While we think that we need to fit into some kind of mold or follow some kind of prescription to get results," Kimberly writes, "the most amazing leaders on the planet are those who dare to be their real selves, constructively and powerfully.
"There are no formulas for true greatness. No credential, title, or alma mater can guarantee a fulfilling and successful life. It's something we must extract from our deepest self every day."
In short, while you may -- especially at critical moments -- feel less than capable and possibly even scared, you can still make an impact. You can still genuinely connect, you can still be genuinely influential, and you can still lead people to get the results you -- and they -- need.
As Kimberly says in her Brave Leadership Manifesto:
- We believe that our best lies in being more of who we really are, not less.
- We believe that everyone has the ability to make a positive impact.
- We believe that we are all far more powerful than we know and that true "power" comes from within, not from title or position.
- We believe that being anchored in purpose gives us the presence we need to influence and helps us bring the courage to take risks.
- We believe that mindful, constructive action is a worthy pursuit.
- We believe that compassion and empathy matter--that embracing our humanity is crucial.
- We believe that there is power in vulnerability.
- We believe that we can always be better--that there is always something to learn and ways to grow.
- We believe that real connection--as a leader, a presenter, a colleague, as a human being--is key to success.
- And we believe that extraordinary results are simply a by-product of us showing up as authentically and powerfully as we can.
If you want to be a better leader, whether in a business setting or as an educator, parent, community leader, etc., this book is for you -- especially if you also want to be yourself.
Or, more accurately, if you want to be an even better version of yourself.