The Power of Inside Out Leadership

Approximate reading time: 
1 minute, 35 seconds

As leaders, we spend a great deal of time focusing from the “outside-in.” We are dealing endlessly with the many demands coming at us at record speeds. It can look and feel like we are operating almost “robotically” in our singular focus on the task of getting things done. And being productive is critical.

However, it is also important to reflect on the “inside-out” character traits we are conveying as we lead others in the direction of success. Ideally, we can be tuned into others and ourselves while getting things done.This way of being is not only captured in our language and actions but in our overall presence. In other words, the atmosphere we create that impacts how people feel around us.

Below is some food for thought. For example, to what degree do I embody and express the following admirable inner qualities of leadership?

Patience– with yourself and others: an acceptance that circumstances unfold in their own time-frame and almost everything will take longer than you thought it would, you trust yourself and the process of life

Kindness: holding an intention for gentleness with others; treating people as people versus thinking of them as cogs in a wheel. Acting as an ambassador of good-heartedness in every interaction.

Flexibility: being like a river that flows around obstacles instead of being rigid or getting stuck in needing to be “right” all the time. This is the ability to be adaptable and flexible through small and big changes.

Humility: being more humble, making people smart with you versus thinking you have all the answers or needing to be the expert all the time; admitting your mistakes and apologizing as appropriate.

Listening– making understanding others through authentic listening a top priority, being “interested” instead of “interesting.”

A refrain some of my clients no doubt get tired of hearing: “We have to slow down in order to speed up.” That means slowing down long enough to remember you are a human “being” amongst all the “doing” as are the people on this journey with you.

Also, slowing ourselves down long enough to assess how we’re doing as leaders of people from the “inside-out” from time to time. The more we transform who we are being as we lead, the more positive impact we can have in relationship to others and ourselves.

As Maya Angelou the well know American author, poet and civil rights activist said, “People may forget what you did and forget what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel.”