Have you ever met someone who just struck you as being phoney? It is not only uncomfortable on a personal level, but on a leadership level it is even more detrimental. As leaders we have an obligation to be real, genuine… authentic. Our employees and peers need to know what to expect when they work with us. When we are consistent not only from day to day with our actions- but that our actions are consistent with our values, others are able to trust us. And trust is the foundation of any solid relationship.
When you think about your history as a leader and think about what was important to you at different times in your career, you may be able to think of times when you were not as authentic to your values as you should have been- I know that I can. There may have been times in our leadership careers when being popular was important, power was critical and prestige was desired. But when material things such as those become our focus we lose sight on what is really important- people. We lose sight of the fact that learning, making a difference and inspiring others is really what drives our own success and the success of others around us.
It takes a great deal of personal maturity to look within ourselves from outside of ourselves and see ourselves as we really are and be willing to make any neccessary changes to progress and grow. C. Michael Thompson reviews in his book, “The Congruent Life” the book “The Fourth Wave” by Maynard and Mehrtens. According to Maynard and Mehrtens, “Maturity will be the prime quality of the CEO of the future, permitting him or her the self-awareness to avoid unconscious programming, self-deception, the urge for power, and other temptations that ensnare less developed personalities” (Thompson, 2000, p. 232).
(“The Congruent Life” has become one of my personal favorites and I find myself going back to that book over and over again to help keep myself centered and grounded.)
Striving for higher levels of maturity in our leadership means striving for the highest levels of personal congruency to ensure that we are living a true authentic life. What a challenge this can be sometimes! But something that is definitely worth aiming for.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION
What do you see when you step outside of yourself? Are there ways that you could become a more congruent leader?