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Personal Leadership Paradigm - A New Model for Performance

June 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

We need to think about leadership in a new way - not just about leading others, but leading ourselves. It's called personal leadership.

Personal leadership offers a new paradigm for performance. Personal leadership improves performance with a self-motivated, self-driven, self-responsible approach - a notable shift from the notion that "leaders motivate people." Leaders may motivate people, but people are also leaders who can motivate themselves.

Although personal leadership isn't a new paradigm, but rather a complement, to leadership, there are some counterproductive, limiting, and even disrespectful assumptions of leadership that personal leadership has the potential to change. One of the most significant of these is the view of leadership (indeed, of business in general) as one big battle for success.

The language of business is so fused with that aggression that we barely even notice it. We talk of "strategy" (originally a military term), "competition," and "the front lines." When people lose their jobs, they get "fired." To replace these people, we hire "headhunters."

One illustrative debate that refuses to die is the order in which to "shoot:" Is it ready aim fire? Ready fire aim? Or as one executive recently indicated, is it simply just "fire fire fire?" No one seems to be asking the question... why are we "firing" at all? Workers are not warriors. They've been drafted as foot soldiers into a fight for market share, and the casualties are stacking up.

When it comes to our visions of work and leadership, it sometimes seems we're at war with ourselves.

The aggressive, competitive stance business leaders have used to get ahead backfire in a world moving toward collaboration and synergy. Personal leadership replaces the model with a more effective, sustainable approach.

Namely, personal leadership takes at least some of the focus away from the competition "out there" and puts it on the capacity "in here," in the hearts and minds of each and every individual leader. And make no mistake about it, every individual is a leader - or can be: an independent thinker perfectly capable of making his or her own decisions, deciding what is right for himself, and fully aware of whether he or she is being their best.

Perhaps a better perspective is achieved when we replace the insidious war metaphor with the notion of performance. Performance focuses on the individual - still in the spirit of competition, but competition more akin to a sports team or an orchestra than a battlefield. High-achieving performers still need leaders (think coaches, conductors, and role models); they are still accountable to stakeholders (think fans, audiences, and season ticket holders). But their success and the success of their "team" (if there is one) is solely dependent on their own ability to bring out the best in themselves. They must learn, practice, and take responsibility for making the most of their talent.

Even though that effort may be a serious endeavor, it not deadly. Instead, it is challenging, inspiring, and even fun - and much more effective.

Personal leadership puts the onus of performance where it belongs - in the hands of each and every person leading their own individual life. That balance offers a much more powerful, positive experience for leaders at any level that's not just about "winning," but creating true prosperity.

Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D. is an executive coach who strategizes with business leaders to enhance performance and maximize business results. Her book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership (, reveals the leadership strategies practiced in America's most successful and admired companies by their highest achieving leaders. Her free newsletter, Inner Edge Insights, offers articles, exercises, tips, quotes, and success stories from real leaders to help you excel. Subscribe now! Click here:

Source: EzineArticles
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