What does it mean to be a real leader?

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

You know...

Be your self. 

Truly be you.  

Stand out there for all to see and let them know that this is you. 

Know you are an amazingly unique and interesting person with brilliant great ideas. 

The world is waiting for you.  


Yet you hide in the corner. You are as timid as a mouse. Nothing will coax you out. 

Change it up...

So what I say is you need to hit hard and force yourself out. You have to kick yourself out of the rut. You have been in this too long. Yes life happens. There are excuses.  Sounds good and no one can argue with it right?

What level do you want to play at?

I ask this question to you as the leader sitting on the sidelines. How much impact do you want to have? What level of difference do you want to make?  If you do not know then you are missing clarity and perhaps it is time to figure this out.

A scenario for you

So let me take you somewhere.  Let me show you a business.

An office that works

Here is an office. Not one you have been to so take those out of your mind. You walk in to the entry and immediately feel embraced by a wall of warmth and inviting energy. You know you are in a company where there is love in the air (not romantic, just the feeling of acceptance and care for others at work).  it is so strong it is palpable! Yes, you can feel it. Why? Because you are tuned in. You have the radar. You are dialled in. Your intuition is on.

An office that may not

So if you are tuned in then you will know when your business is not right.  It would be like walking into this office and not feeling the warmth or the embrace.  You may recognise this experience from some of your previous or current roles.  When times were tough, things got less heart, more mental .  (Pun intended.)  People here are working like rats on a treadmill. Yet they don’t know they are on the treadmill or how to get off them.

Ok so you see the business.  It also does not exist without people. This is the key ingredient. Yes you can automate but ultimately there is a person involved.  Someone has to flip the switch. Do you get that?

I am not being cold.

Take a tour

Go inside this business and walk around. You see cubicles. Lots of cubicles. Boring, boring, boring. Who wants to work like that. Would you set your home up like that? No.

Notice how the people are in their cubicles.  If they love their job and love their work and company then they won’t at all mind the workspace cubicle arrangement. Yet they will long for something else.  There is this feeling amongst them.  You may notice but often when in it you don’t notice.

So here is what you look for…smiles.  Yes how often do people smile?  A bonus is if you catch them laughing.

Scan these people around the cubicles and notice someone who is smiling and laughing.

Get answers

You might for example see a woman on the phone smiling while talking and laughing in conversation.  She hangs up the phone.  Now imagine you go to her and ask her what makes her job so enjoyable.

What you might want to ask: 

how do you sustain this positive engaging and happy state in your work especially when you have to deal with frustrating and unexpected changes in your business all the time?

She might answer: 

I let it go.  I sit here and consciously make a choice.  I think to myself ‘do i want a miserable day or one that I will remember again and want to add to the rest of life.’ You see it is not as much about the work as it is about me and my reaction to the work.  I choose to work here. I know therefore that I am responsible. Yes I am.

Step back and reflect

Now it is your turn. You are the one that needs to ask your self the questions.

What kind of leader are you?

What kind of leader do you want to be?

What do you need to do now to step forward in this direction?

Jenn Shallvey