Recently my husband and I had an interesting conversation about scars. It was probably not the most appealing lunch conversation we’ve ever had, but it really made me think. As a photographer, he sees the imperfections that so many of us hide under makeup or the wonders of Photoshop. He said he can tell if a person smoked for years or if their life is full of laughter.
It’s interesting how our scars tell our life story. Maybe that scar on your knee tells the story of climbing up Mrs. Jackson’s apple tree or the time you hopped over the fence running from Gator, the meanest bulldog on the street. Just as life’s scars tell a story so do our leadership scars. These are the bumps and bruises that end up defining our journey of becoming a leader.
One of my leadership scars tells the story of early in my career when I mimicked my manager’s style of leadership. His style was more consistent with others at his level, so I figured that’s what I needed to be successful. It was my opportunity to show up differently. It’s like that old saying, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”
I started quacking like a duck with the hopes of being seen as one. As it turns out, it was really more of clucking like a chicken. My newfound leadership style hurt my team and left me feeling crummy. That leadership scar reminds me that I can only be successful when I lead authentically.
Here are some other themes from my many leadership scars:
- Listen more than you speak
- Be people first in your intent
- Seek to understand by asking questions
- Be purposeful in your actions
- Be honest, by not doing so you do a disservice to people
If your leadership scars could talk what stories would they tell about your journey? Would your story be one worthy of the big screen and “A” list actors? Is it an epic drama narrating a tale from rags to riches? Those experiences, whether good or bad, have shaped you into the leader you are today. The Law of Process of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell says that successful leaders are learners. The learning process is ongoing, a result of self-discipline and perseverance. Your leadership scars are a result of that learning process. Just own it!
IDG Vision Consulting & Training is located in Covington, GA. Whether you are simply looking for motivation to build new skills or a strategic plan for success, we offer 1-on-1 and group coaching, workshops/seminars and mastermind group studies to help achieve your goals. Contact us at 770-648-3758 to schedule a free consultation.
Andrea Bowens-Jones, PhD
IDG Vision Consulting & Training – President/CEO
Certified John Maxwell Coach, Speaker, and Trainer
idgvision.com | [email protected]