What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you busy studying your physical attributes? Can you notice how your emotions form so much of how you present yourself to the world? Are you a harsh judge or can you simply accept yourself, warts and all? Do you see yourself as a leader or do you want to take the leap into leadership?

Leadership is both an art and a craft.

The old debate about whether leaders are born or developed is over. Good news for all of us. Leadership is developed through disciplined practice and study. Here are the "3 C's" to take you up the ladder of sustainable success.

  • Courage: Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Look fear in the face as you dissect what comes easily and what makes you sigh in frustration. Then work to break through your limitations. Get at it. There are tons of tests (Myers-Briggs; Pattern Aware Quiz) to help you see yourself from every vantage point. Don't shrink away. Be vulnerable. Admit your missteps and ask for feedback.
  • Action Plan: Find someone you don't really like and grab a cup of coffee together and ask for feedback. You will be surprised and often relieved when they're willing to show you your blind spots. Then, they're no longer blind spots. You can keep going and keep growing. It takes courage to step into the muck of confrontation, do it anyway. Best fertilizer is the s**t that shows up when you are being challenged.
  • Change: How do you view change? Is it a positive, seen with curiosity or a huge pain that is meant to ruin your best laid plans? Look, all in life is change, and yet most people want everything to stay the same. It is known and safe. Does fear of the unknown throw you into a battle-ready mode ready to protect what you have at the expense of new adventures? If so, that's what you show when you lead, the ambivalence.
  • Action plan: Take half an hour alone to dig into your past and surface two or three times at what point, a big change occurred when you were a kid. Notice how the adults in your life handled the times of change and the messages you got from them. Then grab paper and pen and write what you learned. Then rewrite the story and put a powerful, courageous new ending that you can use as a touchstone, moving forward.
  • Communication: The best leaders know how to paint a large, engaging vision of what is next. Even more important, they can take that vision and translate it into effective strategies and use clear, concise language to discuss plans. How comfortable are you with making words fly off the page or have them resonate when you stand in front of a group to show the way?
  • Action plan: Stop, look and listen. YouTube is a modern gift for all of us. Take the time to watch and listen to some of the best communicators and write down the words or phrases that touch the place in you that says "yes" to what you are hearing. Words are powerful, and leaders who study how the best of the best do it, become the best of the best over time.

Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned business person, be like the Gold Medal champions and keep practicing. The 3 C's are at the foundation of all leadership and the winners know that's the only way to mastery.

Published on: Aug 11, 2016