4 dimensions of leadership that define your leadership value and brand

Leadership isn’t about fancy models, frameworks or formulas; it’s about showing up intentionally for others in line with your values and principles. We want leaders we know, like and trust.

Within every sphere of society – politics, business, religion and sport to name a few – there are leadership examples where self-interest and profit have reigned over people and purpose.

The Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry brought the spotlight on organisations doing things ‘our way’ (self-interest) versus ‘the right way’ (customer-interest).

Things aren’t always this black and white though.

The tensions of balancing ‘managing today’ and ‘creating tomorrow’ put pressure on leaders.

Good leadership today means being a ‘and/both’ leader rather than an ‘or’ leader, for example:

  •  agile and stable (to give others the stability/certainty they need)
  • innovative and risk/compliance focused
  • fluid and structured
  • experimental (try things and be prepared to fail) and predictable (achieve target results)

Leading change relies on navigating these leadership paradoxes in a way that puts people first.

Only you can define your leadership example

In this fast-paced, busy world, where there is so much choice, opportunity and information, it’s getting harder to ‘stay north’ and define a path for ourselves so we can be true to who we are, so we can lead others from that place, and so we can futureproof our careers in the process. ‘Leadership is getting harder’ a client told me this week. I agree.

Over the past few months, there’s a word I’ve heard a lot in the context of leadership: value. A new breed of ‘real’ leadership is emerging: value-based leadership with four key interlocking dimensions:

1. Value self

Self-awareness vs ego

2. Value others

Others-focused vs self-focused

3. Create value

Transformational change vs transactional change

4. Value the greater good

Shared/common interest vs self-interest

Change-maker leaders define their leadership example within these dimensions and can answer each self-reflective question within each dimension below:

1. Value self enough to lead from your core.

Leadership is more about who you are than what you do.

People won’t want to go on a journey with you if they don’t know who you are. People want to connect with the real you; they want to see your strengths, quirks and stuff-ups. Your authenticity gives others permission to be their authentic selves too. The quality of the relationship you have with yourself drives all your other relationships.

SELF-REFLECTIVE QUESTION: Who are you as a leader?

2. Value others  

The journey of leadership is moving from self-focus to others-focus.

The side of your leadership people want to see most is the side that tells them you care. Your care for others is a capacity or a motivation for understanding others; it’s not a soft emotion and it isn’t about ‘letting others off the hook’.

Finding value in someone’s contributions rather than judging the contribution as good / bad or right / wrong allows leaders to lead through a lens of contribution vs judgement. Leaders practise diversity and demonstrate humility by harnessing the value and potential in their people.

Our humility shows in how we speak to others; how open we are with them; when we invite their different ideas and perspectives, when we show respect, and when we listen with gratitude. These are all cues to how we can show up for others in a way that tells them we are here to make a difference to them.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible – Dalai Lama

SELF-REFLECTIVE QUESTION: What is your proof you are equipping others?

3. Create value

You have to be able to look back at your performance and answer the question: What did I deliver?

The value of your brand is defined by who you are, what you’ve achieved, and what you’re known for. You need to create personal accountability to show you can deliver results. You also need to show that you can own, drive and deliver change that matters. This is how you create value, position your potential and futureproof your career.

SELF-REFLECTIVE QUESTION: How are you building capacity and engagement within your team?

4. Value the greater good

People want to know how their effort contributed toward the greater good

People want to place their trust in others and organisations that are invested in the greater good, where ‘doing the right thing’ and sharing the benefits are prioritised over self-interest and money. While organisations have to make a profit, people have to come first.

SELF-REFLECTIVE QUESTION: What value are you delivering to your organisation?

Bringing it all together

Aligning your leadership identity (how you value yourself and see yourself as a leader) and your leadership brand (how others value your leadership) matters. This is how you lead authentic change. Which of these dimensions gives you the great opportunity to grow your leadership? I’d love to know.

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