Leadership Leapfrog

Make a list of the five most important things that constitute leadership. Okay, now pick the top two. Good, circle the one quality that you can't do without. I bet that if you compare what you have circled with lists of leaders and high potentials around the world, the answer would be variations on the theme: know yourself!

On the walls of the great mystery schools of ancient Greece it commanded "Know Thyself", and Buddha was quoted as saying "Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you, they are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn patience, perfect wisdom, and perfect compassion."

William Shakespeare, a great guide for getting under superficialities said: "Of all knowledge the wise and food seek most to know themselves."

So, what are you waiting for? The best strategies fall short when we step on our own feet. The smartest ideas lose their luster when there is constant friction and mistrust. The best laid plans of man and woman can end in disappointment and disarray when we sabotage our truth and integrity.

Question: Why do so many smart people explode or implode on their way to success and happiness? And the next question is "Where are you on the royal road to that proverbial pot of gold at the end of your personal rainbow?

Did you ever want to help your employees find out what's holding them back? Or holding you back? Ever want to kick a habit that won't let go or one you think you have mastered, only to have it boomerang with great intensity? Ever want to create a new way of relating to colleagues but haven't a clue where to start? Ever want assurance that the executive chosen to take your place when you retire can fill your shoes?

The times are demanding that we strive to know ourselves more deeply in the workplace, to use leadership development training as a course for life knowledge. It is no longer enough to read a P&L sheet quickly and easily, or know how to make a short term tactical decision. Now, to leap into 21st Century leadership it is time to know what pushes our buttons, what to do about it, how to help those we lead find better ways to communicate and collaborate. In his excellent book "A Whole New Mind" Dan Pink says it best, leaders now need to be pattern aware.

Leapfrog, take a quantum leap and dig down into the foundation of what drives us in the workplace. Work has been set up to resemble the family, any family. There are bosses who are parent figures and co-workers who are a variation of siblings. There are rules and boundaries, allowances in the form of salaries, and good stuff like bonuses when you behave and do good stuff.

Once you learn who people's past family life and their work behaviors connect at a core level, you'll know where performance problems originate and conflict starts. The reason most organizational programs abort is that they fail to deal with our personal life patterns, which are at the base of workplace anxiety, tension, and conflict. In "Don't Bring it to Work" you can take a good clear look at yourself, get to know yourself better, say to yourself "Oh, that's why I do what I do."

Give it a shot. Become a business leadership expert, the kind the world needs now. Learn about your behavior patterns, the ones you picked up from your family, the ones that taught you how to react when there is favoritism, competition, injustice, and jealousy. Buddha and Shakespeare will give you a high five for your efforts!


Sylvia Lafair PhD,is CEO of Creative Energy Options,Inc. is a Top 30 Leadership Expert with Global Gurus, Contributing Writer with INC.com, Business Consultant and Award Winning Author of Don't Bring It to Work, GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change, and UNIQUE: How Story Sparks Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement.

Dr. Lafair provides executives and entrepreneurs coaching and programs that build strong interpersonal communication skills, increase team effectiveness and achieve rapid growth.

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