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Crafting Your Leadership Style: Projecting the Real You and Values for Authentic Leadership

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Traditional discussions surrounding leadership often focus on behaviors, skills, and techniques leaders should adopt to achieve success. However, a more profound approach emphasizes defining and projecting a leadership style that aligns with one’s core values, intentions, and aspirations. 

By shifting the focus from prescribed behaviors to the intentional projection of leadership style, leaders can cultivate authenticity, build trust, and inspire meaningful change within their organizations. 

The essence of leadership style projection

At its core, leadership style projection involves intentionally conveying specific values, principles, and characteristics through one’s actions, decisions, and communication. Rather than adhering to a predetermined set of behaviors or skills, leaders focus on articulating their vision, purpose, and beliefs to inspire and influence others. This approach emphasizes authenticity, integrity, and alignment between a leader’s intentions and their outward expression of leadership style.

By defining what they want their leadership style to project, leaders establish a framework for guiding their actions and interactions with others. Whether it’s fostering a culture of innovation, promoting collaboration, or championing inclusivity, projecting a clear leadership style enables leaders to create a sense of direction, purpose, and identity within their organizations.

Identifying desired leadership style attributes

Before projecting their leadership style, leaders must first identify the attributes, values, and principles they wish to embody and communicate. This process involves introspection, reflection, and a deep understanding of one’s personal values, strengths, and areas for growth. Leaders may ask themselves questions such as:

  • What values are most important to me as a leader?
  • How do I want to inspire and motivate others?
  • What impact do I want to have on my team and organization?
  • What behaviors and characteristics do I admire in other leaders?

By clarifying their intentions and aspirations, leaders can articulate a vision for their leadership style that is authentic, meaningful, and inspiring.

Crafting an authentic leadership narrative

Once leaders have identified the desired attributes of their leadership style, they can craft an authentic narrative that communicates their values, intentions, and vision to others. This narrative serves as a guiding framework for decision-making, communication, and behavior, enabling leaders to stay true to their principles and beliefs.

Authentic leadership narratives are rooted in vulnerability, transparency, and self-awareness. Leaders share their personal experiences, challenges, and triumphs, allowing others to connect with them on a deeper level. By demonstrating authenticity and vulnerability, leaders create a culture of trust and openness, empowering others to do the same.

Moreover, authentic leadership narratives inspire and motivate others by highlighting shared values, common goals, and collective aspirations. Leaders articulate a compelling vision for the future, rallying their team around a shared purpose and direction. By aligning their leadership narrative with the organization’s mission and values, leaders foster a sense of belonging, meaning, and fulfillment among their team members.

Projecting leadership style through actions and behaviors

Once leaders have defined their leadership style and crafted an authentic narrative, they must consistently project their intentions and values through their actions and behaviors. Leadership style projection is not just about what leaders say but also how they behave and interact with others daily.

Leaders must lead by example, demonstrating the values and principles they espouse through their actions, decisions, and priorities. Whether it’s fostering collaboration, promoting diversity and inclusion, or championing innovation, leaders must embody the behaviors and characteristics they want to see in others.

Moreover, effective communication is essential for projecting leadership style and reinforcing key messages. Leaders must articulate their vision, values, and expectations clearly and consistently, ensuring that all team members understand and embrace the desired leadership culture.

Leadership style projection also involves empowering others to lead and make meaningful contributions. Leaders delegate authority, provide autonomy, and create opportunities for growth and development, enabling others to thrive and succeed. By empowering others, leaders cultivate a culture of leadership at all levels of the organization, driving innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, projecting a leadership style based on desired values and intentions is essential for cultivating authenticity, trust, and influence within organizations. By defining the attributes of their leadership style, crafting an authentic narrative, and consistently projecting their intentions and values through their actions and behaviors, leaders can inspire meaningful change and create a culture of excellence and innovation. 

Ultimately, leadership style projection is not just about what leaders do but also who they are and the effect they have on others. By aligning their leadership style with their core values and aspirations, leaders can unleash their full potential and make a lasting difference in their organizations and communities.

Exercise | Deliberate practice

Instead of trying to fit yourself into someone’s prescribed set of leadership skills or behaviors, try to gain a deep understanding of who you are as you see yourself.

Use your journal for this:

First identify the attributes, values, and principles you wish to embody and communicate. This process involves introspection, reflection, and a deep understanding of one’s personal values, strengths, and areas for growth. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What values are most important to me as a leader?
  • How do I want to inspire and motivate others?
  • What effect do I want to have on my team and organization?
  • What behaviors and characteristics do I admire in other leaders?

By clarifying your intentions and aspirations, you can articulate a vision for your leadership style that is authentic, meaningful, and inspiring.

Once you start to identify your core values and aspirations, then you can start looking at skills and behaviors to enhance or augment your leadership style.

Don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. What you have is today and this is the best time to begin anything.   

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