This article was originally published by Advancing Women, and authored by Michelle Redfern.
What if I asked you to introduce yourself this way: Hi, my name is <Your Name> and I cause … <insert what you cause here>.
I am going to enlighten you shortly. But right now, please sit with that question in front of your mind. Keep wondering. “What Does My Leadership Actually Cause?“
REFLECTING ON LEADERSHIP
I talk for a living. If you listen to my Mum she says I was born talking. Nothing much has changed, except now it’s my job!
These days, I talk a lot about leadership and what it means. Especially in the context of leading diverse and inclusive workplaces. The world is always talking about leadership and I find it fascinating to watch the different ways leaders are shaping the world we live in.
Volatility, uncertainty, change, and ambiguity are the hallmarks of society and our workplaces. V.U.C.A. sums up what is going on in the world. It is bloody busy! In all that busyness, how often do you stop to reflect on what leadership means to you? Have you stopped to consider what YOUR approach to leadership means to others? The others that you lead, the others that lead you, and those who benefit (or not?) from your leadership impact?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAUSE?
Here is an opportunity for leaders to reflect. Please stop and think. What happens:
- When you walk into a room?
- When you walk out of a room?
- When you have a one-on-one conversation?
- When you hold a meeting?
- When you’re at a conference or expo?
- When you write an email?
- When you post on social media?
- When you walk around your workplace?
Or does something else happen?
3 WAYS TO CHECK WHAT YOU CAUSE
- How do you show up as a leader?
- Who are you called to become as a leader?
- Who you are in service to as a leader?
· Do you show up in service of yourself or others?
· Do you know who you are called to become as a leader?
· Do you understand who you are in service to as a leader?
If you don’t, then that is ok. For now. But now is the time to take ownership of understanding what your leadership causes.
WHAT DO GREAT LEADERS CAUSE?
EFFECTIVE LEADERS ARE SELF-AWARE, AUTHENTIC AND INCLUSIVE
The key to being an effective, authentic, and inclusive leader is to be purposeful and deliberate. The key is to understand the impact your leadership behaviour has.
Here are two things I have learned:
- Good leadership development work includes reflective exercises.
- GREAT leadership development work asks you to dig deep, hold up the mirror and move beyond the superficial and towards mastery as a leader.
HOW MIGHT I CAUSE THE RIGHT THINGS? (AS A LEADER)
The road to leadership mastery is a lifelong journey. There is no shortcut. But here’s a great exercise for you that will cost your time and your effort. Nothing else.
“Stand upright, speak thy thought, declare the truth thou hast, that all may share. Be bold. Proclaim it everywhere. They only live who dare”
“Be aware of what you cause, who you are in service to and who you are called to become, and declare it!”
WHAT DO I CAUSE?
I first wrote my leadership philosophy (what I cause) in 2015. So, here is what I cause:
I want to make a difference no matter what I am doing and I am not often satisfied with the status quo. I fundamentally believe that every person has choices in life therefore I have little tolerance for blame cultures or people who shirk their responsibilities and duty. I try to always work with a positive, growth mindset and do everything I can to create an environment where people can achieve success by ensuring that they have a clear purpose, vision and roadmap along with each person knowing what they need to contribute. I lead from the front, but not too far in front. What that means to me, and to the people I lead is that I promise to create a vision, take them on a journey, get out of the way to allow them to shine but to be there when they need me. And I always keep my promises.
I loathe labels and boxes. I am called to become someone who challenges the world to rid itself of unnecessary boxes, labels and other limiting beliefs and behaviours. I don’t like being placed into a one-dimensional category as no one category could possible describe the complex, flawed, passionate, energetic, positive leader that I am and I promise not to do that to anyone else.
I am called to become a champion of people, a positive role model for women and to advance women and girls worldwide. I promise that I will continue to be courageous and give my whole self, to be purposeful and always understand what I cause.
Authentic and inclusive leaders understand the story of their life and glean meaning from their experiences. Authentic and inclusive leaders embrace vulnerability, hold themselves to account, and are guided daily by their leadership philosophy. Authentic and inclusive leaders understand what they cause!
About Michelle Redfern
Michelle is the founder of Advancing Women, an enterprise providing research and advisory services on equality, inclusion and gender diversity. She is also the founder professional women’s network Women Who Get It, co-founder of social enterprise CDW (Culturally Diverse Women and Workforces) and co-founder and co-host of A Career that Soars! Michelle is determined to contribute to achieving global gender equality in her life time, especially through her research and advocacy in the sporting industry.
Michelle is a Non-executive director for Williamstown Football Club, an Ambassador for Honour a Woman, Respect Victoria and Flexible Working Day. She has held executive leadership roles ASX & FTSE listed companies NAB, Telstra and Serco during her 30-year career.
Michelle was named City of Melbourne B3000 Female Entrepreneur of the Year (2019), is a proud recipient of the AFR 100 Women of Influence Award (2018).
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