Monday, August 8, 2011

Being a leader means knowing and following your passions

Leadership means following your predestined passion. Whether it is leading a non-profit organization or running a Fortune 500 company, follow your passion. When life gets closer to the end, you might find yourself asking the question, “why am I on this earth?” Answering this question may take a systematic approach of self-leadership behaviors. During a recent doctoral assignment, I was asked to speak on the topic of interviewing Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, and Lee Iacocca. This was a complex assignment because no one thinks about interviewing such high profile individuals within a doctorate program. However, it got me thinking, what would I ask? My current program of research popped in my mind: self-leadership. Address the issues of self-leadership? Many consider Trump, Buffett, and Iacocca as great leaders. However, few think of them in terms of improving oneself as leader. For some reason, many associate business and money as being an effective leader. One can have both, but lean on others to lead an organization without any direction from the owner. So what’s this talk about self-leadership? Watson (2004) defines it as one’s leadership development based on self-assessment. Watson provides four components of self-leadership: intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual. An individual can reflect on each of these aspects while responding to a Leadership Development Self-assessment (LDSA). A basic LDSA can have four questions: what personal/ leadership values are most important to you; personal strengths; personal weaknesses and detrimental behaviors (Watson, 2004). The LDSA is the first step of a four-part process that includes assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating (Watson, 2004). These steps are a continuous cycle. Furthermore, a Self-leadership Action Plan (SLAP) can be created that includes life goal statement; obstacles to overcome; leadership domain (intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual); short-term goal statement; strengths to use; goal achieved or revised; and life goal accomplished date (Watson, 2004). A SLAP is important in life because this can assist one in achieving goals whether academic, relationship oriented or financially driven. One of the most popular reasons for many not achieving their goals as a leader is because they fail to assess, plan, implement and evaluate. Following your passion should not be a matter of not having the ability, but not having a SLAP to see it through.

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