My office in Grand Haven is owned by an accounting firm. My heart goes out to these men and women during tax season as they work seven days a week, on very little sleep, from now until April 15. One of the greatest fears the rest of us have is to discover we are being audited. We see audits as inconveniences at best, and intrusions and fear-inducing exercises at worst.
Leadership audits are something entirely different. They allow us to look at where we’ve been, the progress we’ve made, and where we still may need to develop for maximum impact. At the the end of this blog I want to encourage all of you, especially our alumni who have finished LEAD 365 a while ago, to take ten minutes to do a leadership audit, and to make it a yearly rhythm much like tax season, but without the downside and with a tremendous upside. We asked you to do this in our first post of the year, and we truly believe that this is important enough to bring up again today.
Whatever happened to your essay you wrote for LEAD 365 in which you had to describe what it means to be a person worth following? Being and becoming a person worth following was one of our big buckets for the year and a part of the leadership audit. Today I am going try my hand at that essay. After all, if it’s a good exercise for our 365ers, it’s even more important for us. So here it goes:
To be a person worth following means I have come to know well my root system—who I be—as well as the dysfunction that makes me “not okay.” I not only have come to know myself well, I am also consistent with finding opportunities to share and to shore up. I am a person who shares that root system with others AND refuses to accept my dysfunction as “that’s just who I am.” It may not be easy, but I try to address, or shore up, those areas that mess me up and mess up my relationships. I seek to be a leader who models growth, since modeling perfection is a myth. I am always assessing my current reality based upon the sweet spot of where my roots converge and overlap—seeking to be ever closer to that great place.
Feedback and public speaking hold less fear and more potential for me. I see feedback as an expression of love and public speaking as an opportunity to share who I am and to communicate effectively.
Being a person worth following means that I am a high-impact listener, that I am known for being a person who can turn myself off and seek first to understand BEFORE I seek to be understood.
For me, people are more important than tasks, traction and transformation are more important than knowledge and information, and impact is more important than busyness. I’ve developed great gauges that serve as a governor to make sure I am saying yes to the right things, and no to both the bad and the not-so-great things. I’ve also developed a personal mission statement and values that help me in saying yes to only the right things.
I’m willing to lean in and have difficult conversations—avoiding both extremes of attack or withdrawal. I also have developed a good radar to know that there are times when I DON’T lean in, times when things need to be overlooked or forgiven (showing grace), and times when leaning in is best for the relationship, for health, and for performance. When these conversations are especially difficult, it is even more important for me to stay calm, deliver my best response based upon my beliefs and values, and to stay connected.
Finally, being a person worth following means that I will seize every opportunity I can to help others become great. Their greatness is my greatness. Their greatness is my legacy, even if I am forgotten or unrecognized. I’ve stepped off the treadmill of my worth and security being based upon what I do or what I have.
Now I need to print out the leadership audit, take my ten minutes to fill it out, and make sure I am making progress on what I just finished writing. If you haven’t done it already this year, why don’t you take ten minutes right now and join me?