"To Thine Own Self Be True"
Adaptive and Authentic Leadership: How do we improve ourselves without changing who we are?
Articulate Your Values and Missions
Through the AgOne Leadership program, I have recognized the importance of articulating your values and mission. Simply put, I think it is important for leaders to identify what is actually important in their lives (values), and how those things influence their actions (missions). This is relevant to our conversation on “To Thine Own Self Be True” because our values are, and should be, the reason for the “why, who, what, where, when, and how” as it relates to what we hope to accomplish. An effective leader is aware of how being critical of our intended actions produces relevance, and that relevance influences the motivation for ourselves, and those we serve.
Be Honest with Yourself and Others (Self-Awareness)
As leaders, we should be fervently comparing our actions to our values. For example, if I value “fighting hunger”, am I upholding that value if I don’t share food with my neighbors in need? Obviously, this question is not a simple one to answer, but I must be willing to “check myself” in order to be true to "thine own self". Furthermore, we know that effective leaders and organizations stay true to their values, and their actions should be proof of that. I’ve personally found that folks may initially disagree with your decisions but will eventually offer their respect if your actions are consistently upholding your values and the mission(s) of the group.
Be Open to Feedback - Even If You Don’t Utilize It
Lastly, effective leaders should be aware of what they do well and what they must improve upon. This can come from self-evaluation and/or the evaluation of others. We, as leaders, must be willing to give others, especially those we serve, an opportunity to share their input on how we can improve. Nevertheless, I want to stress that we don’t have to take all feedback. Effective leaders must discern among many factors to determine if said feedback is truly imperative to accomplish a value-driven mission.
My Final Thoughts
Staying true to ourselves doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t change. In fact, it implies that we must change but only if that change will enhance our value-driven missions. That change is what I consider to be authentic improvement.
A Few Take-Aways:
· Articulate your values and create your missions with them in mind.
· Compare your decisions and actions to those values and missions.
· Demonstrate a willingness to take feedback, even if you don’t utilize it.
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