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How to use muscles and become a good leader

If you want to be a good leader you must use all your muscle power. If you want to use all your muscle power you must work with personal development.

You won’t become a good writer by buying yourself a fancy PC keyboard. Or a master chef from purchasing a good-quality sauce pan.

In the same way, you won’t become a good leader just from having good and adequate leadership tools. Such tools will make it easier for you but they will not create results by themselves. It takes a human being to wield them.

Good leadership demands personal development

But who are you and what does it really mean to work on personal development? There is not one single answer to this question, but still, let me offer you a suggestive example:

When I go to a gym I usually follow a set program in order to work gradually through the different areas of my body. But after a while I feel like making a change and I will plan a new program using new machines. And then I suddenly realise that I have muscles I wasn’t even aware of, as they start hurting! They haven’t been used for a long time but they have a function too, and they need exercise.

It´s the same with personality “muscles”, I think. We all have certain parts or aspects of ourselves that we are not quite aware of, because we don’t use them very much. We tend to define who we are and how we work according to the “muscles” we use the most and know best. In this way we only reveal half the story of ourselves to ourselves (and to others!) and we also only utilize half of ourselves.

This is me (too) as a leader

I am very determined. I use this part of myself – my determination – to a degree that it sometimes comes to define how I relate and react no matter the situation or the circumstances. Sometimes it is appropriate enough, but sometimes it’s more like trying to saw through a piece of wood with a hammer.

I am not always aware of this. Usually it takes a caring and honest bystander to remind me of an inappropriate response. But then, instead of letting my determination go on proclaiming “This is me!”, such a reminder gives me the opportunity – admittedly sometimes after quite a while – to let another aspect of me say “This is me, too.” And then I find that it’s possible for me to change without feeling forced.

I do not need to change completely, and it´s not that perseverance isn´t a valuable quality too. It´s just that I end up with more possibilities on my palette – possibilities to succeed and to thrive.

Attention, attention, attention

If you want to utilize all of your leadership “muscles”, at least two things are required:

  • You need to explore which parts of you are worth exercising more
  • You need to think and act using new perspectives

Especially the last point needs attention. A lot of attention. And a lot of careful nudging. Because your accustomed ways of thinking and acting will keep nudging you too and might well convince you that old ways are better ways, so be careful. And attentive.