Sometimes, you just gotta go with your gut, no matter what. Literally.
I’ve learned to trust my intuition, even though it takes me in some really unpredictable places.
For example, I was working with a corporate client this morning. From the time I woke up until the middle of the call with him, I kept hearing this idea (I’m not gonna say “voice,” but, you know it was!) saying “Ask him if he likes to cook. And what’s his favorite thing to cook?”
This was not the kind of conversation where I could casually drop in a question about cooking – that would have been strangely off topic. We were talking about leadershippy things. You know, stuff like communication, authenticity, empathy, coaching for development and feedback.
But the idea wouldn’t go away. So I waited until we were about 3/4 through the hour.
“Okay, I have a random question that I just have to ask. Do you like to cook?”
He lit up. Of course. He told me about his heritage, and his grandparents and his favorite things from growing up with them in his life. He told me how his grandmother taught him that you don’t need a recipe, you learn to rely on what tastes right today.
And the candelabra came on for both of us. He has all of that heritage to draw on as he evolves his own leadership style. He has a natural understanding of cooking metaphors, an appreciation for how his grandmother would share her wisdom while they worked side by side, and memories of how easily he learned in a comfortable environment.
I’m sure we would have had a good enough session if I hadn’t asked the question (or more accurately, if resistance hadn’t been futile). But it was so much richer, so much more impactful, so much more of what it was meant to be because I did follow my gut.
Yes, I did let him know the backstory, in case you’re wondering. Why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to let him know who I am, too?
At this point in time, I’m pretty convinced that authenticity is the most important attribute of a stellar leader. My favorite definition of authentic leadership is: a style in which people act in a real, genuine and sincere way that is true to who they are – their personality, core values and ethical code.
That means that the color for this leadership attribute is…sound the trumpets…clear! Clear, for its transparency and for its clarity, for its inability to hide behind any kind of artifice or pretense.
When you are an authentic leader, it’s pretty clear who you are.
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,