This month on the blog, I’m focusing on your unique leadership voice: those characteristics of your approach to leadership that make you recognizable, remembered and remarkable. I have found one way to recognize my unique leadership voice is to listen to my unique leadership story.
About 6 years ago, I was introduced to Sybil Towner and Sharon Swing and their Listen to My Life Maps. In community with other women leaders, I was led through a life-changing process of intentional reflection on God’s work in my life through my life story. Since that experience, I have helped other leaders consider their leadership story in one-on-one coaching conversations and in community through The Leadership Intensive. Understanding the twists, turns, characters, and challenges that have shaped our leadership stories helps us to recognize the tone, timbre and cadence of our leadership voices.
To draft your own leadership story, begin by setting aside 45-60 minutes for the exercise. Get away to a comfortable, non-distracting space and place. Begin by praying for God to be with you during this reflective process. When drafting your leadership story, use a format that is comfortable for you: a sketchpad, a computer, a journal. Remember leadership moments from your childhood and continue on to your present leadership setting. As you reflect on your life and leadership, consider your answers to these questions:
- When did you first realize you were a leader?
- What were some of the defining moments in your leadership story?
- Who were the key characters/influencers in your story and where did they show up?
- What were some of the moments when you felt most successful? The biggest wins?
- What were some of the key challenges? Biggest disappointments, mistakes and failures?
- Looking back on your leadership story, how does this inform you about your unique approach to leadership?
- What lingering questions do you have about your leadership?