On The Edge Of Greatness
How to reach your next level of performance without going over the edge.
HBR will have you believe that there is a standard formula for becoming a successful CEO. A model answer for CEO excellence. They make effective leadership look almost effortless. Just add water, and ready to lead.
They are all lies.
Sure, we’ve come across great leaders who make effective leadership look natural and effortless. They have that… je ne sais quoi. That X-factor. They look so effortlessly confident. Working with them feels easy. They bring out the best in everyone, helping teams and organisations prosper. They’re the dream bosses. They deliver extraordinary results, and they make it all look easy.
Here’s the thing. What you see are their behaviours and results - their leadership persona - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We are often inspired by what we see, which is people's leadership persona. But leadership persona is shaped by mindsets (mind, heart, will) that lie below the surface of the ocean. Making leadership look that easy is the result of a lot of inner work - careful cultivation of good mindsets over a long time. These leaders have been through the school of hard knocks. They have learnt what works and what doesn’t because they have tried it all, and that makes them very wise.
Like it or not, you already have a leadership persona. You have an original and ripe reputation based on how you get things done and how you interact with others. At your best, you are a powerful force for positive change: driven, conscientious and highly motivated to make the world a better place. You're ambitious, but your ambition is not self-serving. Rather, you feel personally responsible for making the world a better place. This drive gives you tremendous potential to make a difference. If you desire for some je ne sais quoi, if you want to be like these leaders, don't simply copy their behaviours. That’s like chipping away at the bits and pieces of ice at the tip of the iceberg. You’ll only be going through the motions. The potential is already within you, you just need to shift the lens of discernment from focusing on these leaders back to you.
You need to go inwards to the bottom of your iceberg and unleash your rocket power. Everyone’s mindset is different. It’s shaped by our experiences and upbringing. We have distinct personalities, motivations and aptitudes. We're also shaped by the context we're working in. That’s why leadership is deeply personal. It’s not one-size-fits-all.
Leadership is about making a positive impact. And our modern corporate world provides us with many opportunities to do so. We are constantly in conflict with the difficulties we face at work. We ignore it. We avoid it. We try to get rid of it. Our greatest mistake is not recognising these difficult situations as the opportunity for learning and growth.
It can feel like the edge of despair. But this is also the edge of greatness, if you hold the space to reflect and learn from the experience, instead of running away from it.
Of course, this is up to you. But whether you like it or not, those underlying mindsets are at work. You can pay attention to it and make it your superpower. Or you can ignore it and have it become your kryptonite.
Reach your next level performance. Make leadership personal.
PERSONNA is a leadership development company focused on the human side of transformation. We hold a simple belief that everyone is an extraordinary force for positive change, and our solutions should be as unique and agile as you and your business challenges.
We’re here to help people become better leaders, build highly-effective teams, and create a culture of trust & collaboration in their organisations. We provide leadership branding, leadership coaching and group experiences.