We are in a study and discussion of Gary Burnison’s recently published book titled, The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership. Burnison is CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm.
I love the way Burnison describes our paths of leadership: “A journey that is about enabling others by discovering yourself, as you commit yourself to being all in, all the time.”
Every leader, including you and yours truly, can best enable others by first best discovering and understanding ourselves – and then being all in, all the time. Since the first wise men and women walked the face of the earth, they have reminded us, over and over, that we must first know and understand ourselves if we wish to most effectively influence, enable and lead others.
Burnison puts it beautifully when he writes:
“Despite all the frameworks and models that exist, leadership is much more art than science. It can be learned and absorbed only by doing, starting with the most important lesson of all: self-mastery. To lead is to manage yourself first, understanding that it is never about you, even though you may be in the spotlight more often than not, and uncomfortably at times.”
Most of what we read and hear about leadership is focused on others – those we wish to influence and lead – and how we should lead them. I believe far more emphasis should be placed on knowing and understanding oneself, the leader, before and during preparation to lead. This self-discovery enables leaders to then better enable those they lead.
Here are four phrases that could serve as constant reminders of this critical leadership principle; you may want to consider choosing one or more to put front and center in your office or in the area in which you work.
- Enable Others!
- My Job is To Enable Others!
- The Highest and Best Use of My Time is to Enable Others!
- Enable Others by Discovering and Understanding Myself!
You are a leader. You are on “a journey that is about enabling others by discovering yourself, as you commit yourself to being all in, all the time.”