Becoming a Better Leader
“Developing a Richer More Meaningful Leadership Life”
You could be in the highest position in government or in your organization and still be a terrible leader. The position is not what gives you value. The position does not make you a great leader; you have to bring great leadership to the position. We lead three distinct lives: a public life, a personal life, and a private life.
The public life is the one everyone can see. It is us on social media, or out to dinner taking selfies of our meals or our feet on a sandy beach. We work hard to make sure this life, the public life, looks good. We sometimes focus on this life more than the other two. We really care what people think about us, how they respond to us, how we look, etc.
The next life we lead in the personal life. In this life, only our closest family and friends can see into this life. We may not want our co-workers or others to see this life. It’s more personal.
The third life is the private life. This is the life we lead when no one is looking or watching us. It’s the life that our spouse or children may not even be aware of. We may not share any details about this life with even our closest of friends or family members.
If you want to become a better leader, the first place to start is to make sure that all three of the lives that you lead are in perfect alignment. You should be the same person in public as you are in your personal and private lives. That is how you become a congruent and whole leader. When our personal and private lives are in conflict with our public life, it creates internal conflict. We can’t be whole, authentic and genuine in our leadership potential. Our outer world goes into chaos because we are experiencing chaos inside. We have not resolved to live by our values both publicly and privately. Ask yourself this simple question: Am I the same person in the office that I am when I am at home or when I am alone? That is a hard question to answer but it will get us moving in the right direction toward becoming a better leader.
Do you feel or experience any of these:
Feel unfulfilled? (Your work, career, has no meaning or you are not doing what you love)
Feeling inauthentic because you are not leading & living according to your values?
Feeling disconnected from the people you love the most?
Feeling exhausted with trying to live and keep up with it all?
I want to share with you the four Domains of Life. If we consciously work in all four of these domains, our life will be more fulfilled as a leader, our performance will improve, our energy will increase and ultimately we will become better leaders.
For the four domains of life, begin to think, write and identify your values, your vision, and how you are currently aligned in each of these domains.
- Domain of Work – Find ways to be more productive, more focused with less distraction. Manage time more efficiently. Don’t be controlled by your email inbox. Find the meaning and value again in your work. Mentor someone and add more value to your team and organization.
- Domain of Home – work on improving relationships. Be more present in the moment. Bring your Whole self-home. Don’t miss the most important moments of life with family. Be considerate of what other family members might be facing each day. Be more patient, more understanding, and more appreciative, be more forgiving of mistakes.
- Domain of Community – give more service to others; be more giving and willing to help those who are less fortunate. Giving is not just money, but giving of your time to help mentor and add value to the lives of others. Changing our world starts with changing the life of just one person in your community.
- Domain of Self – improve your health and diet. Take time to exercise at least 3 times per week. Find more meaning and discover more of your purpose. Have a plan of growth and never stop learning and developing yourself. Focus on a life of significance as opposed to just a life of success.
When you start working equally in all four domains of life, you will start to improve not just as a leader, but also in every area of your life. Remember we lead out of our lives, not our position, so the more time we spend developing and improving the 4 domains of life, the more richer and more meaningful of a life we will lead. Our performance, energy, mindset, attitude are all the result of how we are living in the other domains of our lives outside of work or career.
We may be excellent decision-makers, but are missing the tears in our children’s eyes. We could be brilliant at meeting deadlines, but miss a daughter’s piano recital. We might be a great mom or dad at home, but chew out our employees and staff at work. We might spend every day working out in the gym and in perfect physical condition but neglect the emotional needs of our spouse.
Winning in all 4 domains of life will allow us to win in Leadership.
I close this article with a great framework I have created for leaders called the
“Be” Blueprint for Leaders © If you would like a free PDF version (with framework illustration), you can send me an email request (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will email it to you. For now, I will briefly share the BE principles:
BE Healed – In order to be effective as a leader, we have to develop the ability to forgive others, to forgive mistakes, and move forward from setbacks. Without being healed, we are not whole and a part of us will remain in the past. Forgiving someone is never about them, it is always about us and our ability to let things go. Harboring resentment, being revengeful, only detracts from our leadership and eats away our energy, focus, and vitality as a leader.
BE Real – this is the ability to be authentic. The best leaders are the ones who are completely self-aware, not just of their strengths but aware of their weaknesses. Becoming authentic also means not hiding behind pride, or hiding our vulnerability. Being authentic gives permission for others to share their vulnerability as well.
BE Whole – this means being a complete person in mind, body, and spirit. It means living successfully and effectively in all four domains mentioned above. When we are whole, we are at peace with ourselves, we don’t beat ourselves up, and we don’t compare ourselves to others. We create time for mindfulness, we exercise and take care of our body and we are connected and contribute to something greater than ourselves.
Your Life should be reflected in your leadership and your leadership should be reflected in every area of your life.
If we want to see great leaders emerge and thrive in this generation, we will need to redirect our focus from technical skill and education to developing character, and value within each individual leader. Soft skills are no longer soft and many organizations are struggling and failing because we have accepted Intellectual arrogance that is creating Disabling ignorance.
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