What does it mean to be a better leader? How is a personal leadership philosophy enacted?

Every executive in a leadership role wants to leave his or her mark. Like navigators on a journey, they have one eye fixed on the horizon and the other on the current position.

Part of that positioning relies on listening to their inner compass of achievement and contentment, leveraging their strengths and making choices of how to spend their time. Managerial leadership reflects who you are – to a degree. There are intersections between the personal and the professional. An executive often masks aspects of their identity by deciding which parts of themselves to hide and which parts to reveal.

Personal beliefs and imprints can mean that an executive achieves success despite certain factors, not because of them.

A different mirror may be valuable. When I work with executives, our coaching conversations explore leadership in the context of their organisation and themselves, what transitions are needed to move to the next-level, change as a choice, what is known and unknown about the future; and which strengths should continue to be used, which ones to let go or which to use with less intensity.

Our coaching conversations also recognise that Australians accept that leadership is imperfect – but only to a point. We expect leaders to wear their power lightly. There is little tolerance for self-interest, breaches of trust or inconsistency of conviction. We see through pretence. 

A snapshot of those discussions on managerial leadership centres on:


Then there is the need to balance opposites. As I wrote in my article, Powerplay: “Think about autonomy and individual achievement versus results enabled by an intricate collaborative network of alliances. Think of command-and-control hierarchies versus participative interactions of leaders and followers. Think of a directive style versus enabling others to take up their own authority. Think of making choices versus integrating the ‘and’.”

As Peter Drucker said in The Effective Executive: ”… the executive integrates individual purpose and organisation needs, individual capacity and organisation results, individual achievement and organisation opportunity.”

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