A Disciplined Approach
“The F(X) Leadership Model is a disciplined approach to improving yourself and your leadership. It is the science behind the art. Since we cannot control every aspect of our lives we can prepare ourselves in how we react to the unexpected life and leadership challenges. Since I cannot control an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous I can prepare myself for the uncertainty through a disciplined approach,” Ty said.
“Ok, if it is a disciplined approach what is the first step?” replied Eliza.
“The first step of leadership is Knowing Yourself,” Ty said. “Nosce Te Ipsum is Latin for Know Thyself. The saying is attributed to many Greek and Roman philosophers to include Socrates, Aristotle, Heraclitus, and Cicero. It is a key principle of leadership. Know yourself and learn to lead yourself well before you lead others.”
“So before I can lead other I need to learn how to lead myself first. In addition, the way to do that is through understanding what I am capable of as a leader,” asked Eliza.
“Once again you are correct; a leader needs insight into how they operate, how they make decisions, and how to treat people, in order to lead people. Furthermore, as a leader you need to understand that the greatest asset you have is your ability to learn, grow, and reinvent yourself as a leader based on integrating your education, training, and your leadership experiences in to your life.” Ty replied.
“Eliza, here is a book I want you to read before our next meeting it is called Leading Change by John P. Kotter. In the book, you find a quote, which I think, is important for you to understand. “In the twenty-first century, I think we will see more of these remarkable leaders who develop their skills through lifelong learning, because that pattern of growth is increasingly being rewarded by a rapidly changing environment” (Kotter, 1996, p. 177).” Learning to be a leader is a lifelong process,” Ty said.
“Before you go let me show you one more model to help explain what I mean,” said Ty.
“This model demonstrates that learning is not a onetime event but a continuous process of continuous development (CD), continuous growth (CG), and continuous experience (CE) that you internalize to shape your Character, Competence, Courage, and Commitment (C4).The lifelong model adds a new concept of your experiences. Experience is the lesson we learn as a leader and are valuable lessons that we need to continuously apply to our growth and development.”
“Finally, learning is an individual and organizational imperative. I believe education is the key to life’s success. The better educated you are the better you are to make better choices. Your choices determine who and what you are and can become,” Ty said.
“I think I am beginning to understand and it seems I have a lot to think about over the next week. Thank you for the book.” Eliza said as she got up to leave.
“Eliza, next week I want you to meet me up at Jake’s office to further this discussion.” Ty said as Eliza left the room.
You cannot grow others if you are not growing. By teaching, coaching, and mentoring others, we develop ourselves. As the pace of change in the world increases, we need to keep our people, and ourselves up to date and focused on the right path. An F(X) leader is a learner, a mentor, a trailblazer, a guide, a pioneer, but, most of all teacher. Leaders, who sharpen and refine their leadership skills, are an organizational asset.
As a learning leader, you need to read leadership books, attend leadership workshops and seminars, look for opportunities for leadership challenges at work, and go out into your community and look for leadership opportunities. These are ways to improve your leadership skills and apply what you have learned in leader roles. These are the principles of continuous development, continuous growth, and continuously reinventing yourself
The Inspire or Retire theorem is a way to visualize what your leadership responsibility is every day. However, the most important part of the theorem is the function of x or F(x). The function of (x) is you. You are the key to the formula!
Leaders see beyond the current problems and limitations to help others see their own possibilities. It’s a key part of growth and development. We continue to grow when we help others grow and develop. We develop ourselves while we are developing others. The cycle of growth and development is continuous as long as you continue to develop your skills and integrate your experiences.
Learning is an individual and a organizational imperative. I believe education is the key to life’s success. The better educated you are the better you are to make better choices. Your choices determine who and what you are and can become.
C.S Lewis, English professor and author of the Narnia Chronicles, stated, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part you—the part that chooses—into something little different than what it was before. Taking your life as a whole, with innumerable choices, you are slowly turning this thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature”.
All of us are living with the decisions we made yesterday, last year and years gone by. These choices we made determined who we are, what are, and where we are today. Many of us made choices without a clear understanding of the kinetic impact the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th order of effect of that decision would have on our futures.
Nosce Te Ipsum
This theme of understanding yourself is also a key principle that many of today’s leadership authors point to as the beginning point for all leaders. Why is this an important step for a leader to learn? As human beings and as leaders we need to understand we are a complex network of values, beliefs, ideas, traits, capabilities, talents, and life experiences. This complex network is our character DNA. Our character is the true essence of who we are as a person and how we lead as a leader. It is the very core of what drives us and influences our actions and reactions. Our character is our inner workings of beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors, and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader. Our character can be an asset or a liability depending on how well we know and understand ourselves. To be a great leader you need to understand who you are and how you operate as a human being first before you can lead others. This is called self-leadership. Leadership requires that you know yourself, know your people, and continue to build the relationship you have with your subordinates or followers. Finally, if you want to be an effective leader, know yourself so you can better lead your people and develop great teams.
Leadership Thought Question
What are you doing to grow and develop your leadership skills?
What leadership books are you reading? Write down the names of those books you have read or are currently reading.
What leadership training/seminars have you attended?