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The Responsible Leader: Clarity and Identity

9th February 2015 | Tim Richardson

In the words of Tim Richardson, author of The Responsible Leader, responsible leaders have certain things in common and one of those is a quiet assuredness based on a clear sense of ‘who I am,’- a strong personal identity. This article will help you connect with your core values and project your consistency to your team and stakeholders.

The Responsible Leader: Clarity and Identity

I work with many individuals, helping them explore their personal story as they reflect back through their lives to discover the patterns they intuitively follow that reveal what drives them and what gives them real and deep fulfilment. To be ‘in the flow,’ in the words of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi (2002), is to be so absorbed and focused as to feel that one is operating almost effortlessly. And this is very powerful, both for the individual and for those observing.

I recently sat in a lecture theatre listening to a professor from a London university talking to teenagers who might be prospective students at a brand new school. His talk was about how engineering and biology were becoming interlinked, resulting in the development of new technologies that were just astonishing. However, what was even more impressive to me was his passion and natural ability to communicate his subject with wit and in a way that was simply compelling.

The next step towards internal assuredness is being clear about personal values and beliefs and living by these. Although there is nothing new in this, I am amazed at the number of people in senior leadership positions who have never taken the time to pause, reflect and dig deep to find out what they stand for. I am talking about much more here than corporate values statements such as ‘honesty, integrity and teamwork,’- (apologies if these are your company’s values- they happen to be the three most popular values words used by corporations).

With the unending pace of change and the demands on us to think instantly, largely as a result of technology, as leaders we have to be able to respond consistently. This is a key to being a responsible leader for the future.

In my conversations with men and women who embody responsible leadership, I have come to realize that they typically hold some clear beliefs that act as a source of energy for them. Values and beliefs are interwoven in their lives and find a way into, and are worked out through, their careers and how they lead. Be it a religious or spiritual faith, a belief in the inherent goodness of people or the integrity of nature, such beliefs embed themselves deeply in the soul of such people and inform their decisions.

A clear and established value and belief system also helps to smooth out irrational swings of behaviour (not always, of course) and leads to consistency. When people say of leaders ‘you know where you stand with him or her,’ this is usually built on consistency of behaviour. Responsible leaders see the benefit in pausing to reflect and to recharge their energy. In these times they can draw on their belief systems as a source of insight to inform their day-to-day lives.

Special Offer: You can order The Responsible Leader at a 25% discount on this site when you use the code RESPON25 at checkout. This offer is valid until the end of March 2015. 

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