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Whenever I ask the women on my coaching course to describe a good leader, they readily share a list of required competencies and skills that shape the identity of a “good leader”. But most women struggle to define their leadership identity. They may know who they would like to become but often struggle to see their existing greatness.
When you want to create a change and have a more significant impact, “just be yourself” advice isn’t helpful if you’re unsure who you are as a leader now.
Through my coaching work, as well as my own leadership journey, I found that exploring values and strengths helps women define their leadership identity. By clarifying and communicating the best aspects of who we are, we quickly realise our power to create a more significant impact.
At the beginning of my corporate career, I told a friend of mine about an unpleasant event at work. Explaining how I reacted, he responded by saying, “Obviously, you’re a typical people person!” Honestly, I was annoyed with his response. I felt like he was assigning typically “feminine” qualities to my leadership approach. I thought, “No way. I am not a people person. I can be tough, I am strategic, I am a critical thinker.”
I resisted his description because I thought that I couldn’t be all above and be a “people person.” However, over the course of my professional career, I’ve realised that I was wrong, not him. Being one of those things doesn’t preclude the others; this combination defines my uniqueness. Once I realised this about myself, everything in my life and career started falling into place. It motivated me, almost bringing a sense of relief because I started seeing myself through my strengths and embraced who I naturally was.
We cannot reach the next stepping stone on our journey unless we level up and embrace who we are right now. Our leadership identity needs to then evolve to support us on a journey to becoming the best self.
How did my leadership identity evolve?
Are you ready to create your leadership identity statement to help orientate your development?
More about how to do it in The First Step Toward Personal and Career Change blog.
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