Jakarta, 20 December 2017 — Where are you going, is what we ask travelers. So where are you going on your leadership journey in 2018? Are you ready to bet on yourself for achieving an exceptional result?
There are many ways to describe how leaders stand out. Just check out the shelves of leadership books in your bookstore to get the idea. One of my favorites is about the five practices of exemplary leadership. According to authors Kouzes and Posner, leaders "Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart." These practices have become known as foundations of transformational leadership.
In this post, drawing on my experience, I would like to boil it down a bit more, to three characteristics of Triple C Leaders. Almost without exception, I found the leaders I have met to be Curious, Cheerful, and Convincing.
Let me explain what I mean, and if you are with me on this, we can explore what you can do to make 2018 an exceptional year in your journey to become a Triple C Leader.
Leaders are Curious
All leaders I have met, regardless of their age and position, are curious individuals. They approach life with curiosity.
They are interested in what goes on around them, and in what goes on inside themselves. They always read what they can to expand their knowledge. They ask questions to find out more about what other people think, how things work, or why they are not working.
I found them to be invariably keen on expanding their personal and situational awareness. They discover that people around them may have a different worldview than their own. As a result, they are not afraid to challenge and expand their own worldview as they learn to deal with the complexity of life's challenges.
They aspire to make a difference in the world, and they invest to learn and experience more so that they can grow to their full potential and help people on their path to become leaders too.
As they grow from navigating life's challenges, they recognize that there are many ways to be a leader. They find out that you can become a leader at any age and regardless of the position you have in the place where you work.
Leaders are Cheerful
You might find 'cheerful' an odd word to describe leaders. Yet in my experience, the leaders I have met are showing, almost without exception, a cheerful attitude. That means that they choose to look at life from a positive angle, even when they are dealing with hardships, setbacks, and failure.
Have you heard about failing forward? Leaders can fail forward because of their positive attitude. They reflect on what they learn, and they choose a positive attitude so that they can reframe what is happening towards a positive outcome that benefits themselves and the people around them.
Leaders are aware that positive actions start with positive thoughts. They have discovered that in order to change the way you live and lead, you need to change your thinking first.
While valuing the benefits of diverse thinking styles, and not overdosing on positive thinking only, leaders recognize the power of expressions like "you become what you think about most of the time" and "what you focus on, expands."
When it comes down to it, they know how to use positive thinking to create positive outcomes.
Leaders are Convincing
The leaders I have met, again regardless of age and position, are convincing in their ability to inspire others and make a difference. They don't just talk well—they "do their stuff," in the words of leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith.
They do their 'homework' including in choosing their values to live by, in investing to expand their repertoire of leadership skills, and in building effective habits that support them to make a difference every day.
Beyond committing to values, attitude, and habits, they go the extra mile by challenging themselves, knowing that getting out of their comfort zones is the key to developing their leadership further.
They do not shrink from challenging themselves by going for 'big, hairy, audacious goals' and by making sure that they have 'skin in the game' with an accountability for results to fellow leaders around them.
Where many people's new year resolutions fall by the wayside after a few weeks, leaders stretch themselves further than that.
I have observed how they take a commitment to mean that they are ready to 'put a bet on themselves' for achieving an exceptional result.
And they make sure they do, and that's why we can say that they are convincing in how they show up with leadership ability.
Where Are You Going?
Are you with me so far about leaders being Curious, Cheerful, and Convincing?
Then let's return to the question where you are going on your leadership journey in 2018. How about focusing on three important things to do?
1. Expand Your Worldview by growing the network of people you know, interact and work with, and to practice curiosity in seeing what the world looks like from standing 'in their shoes.'
2. Grow Your +Thoughts into positive actions and let go of some limiting beliefs and fears that are still holding you back from becoming the leader you can be.
3. Bet on Yourself for achieving an exceptional result that is outside your comfort zone, with 'skin in the game' by holding yourself accountable to some people around you.
I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences as you embark on your journey as a Triple C Leader. Shoot me an email if you have a question or comment.