Stop acting like a leader ..... be a leader

I am in Bangkok exchanging life philosophies with my friend, Mr T - a strategy consultant. Mr T is the epitome of being authentic and has an uncanny ability to situationally sense the context of his environment and the nuances of the people he is interacting with in the moment.Yet he seems to 'act' in exactly what is appropriate to get what he wants.

That makes him an amazing leader. How does he do that? I was contemplating the essence of his leadership in this way:

1. Authenticity - A leader knows his truth - and lives by it. Mr T always tells the truth. His team has been instructed to tell clients that he 'has a prior engagement' - even though he may be just having lunch with this wife. If this client chooses to delve deeper to challenge the priority of his relationship with Mr T because he 'caught' him not at work but 'socialising' with his wife - Mr T has always come back with this response: "I made a promise to my wife so it is a prior engagement. A promise is a promise ....How would you like me to break my word to you?"

2. Being present - A leader has the ability to tolerate ambiguity, and can operate across a full spectrum of behaviours - from one extreme to another. eg choosing when to be humble vs assertive, big picture vs detailed, persisting vs quitting etc etc. It just depends on their sensory acuity of any situation: and then deciding to 'show' the most appropriate side of themselves . Mr T is the most persistent person I know in developing a long-term business relationship: he consults as an honorary trusted adviser of a CEO for what seems months - and knows precisely when to quit giving his time away for free. 9 times out of time - the CEO engages his services at whatever fee he demands when that happens! It comes from his ability to 'read' the signs of when he is most likely to succeed in his endeavours.

3. Common sense - A leader can step back to be analytical, focused and tactical only when he can understand all the needs of relevant stakeholders and how best to meet them, whilst achieving his/her vision within the complexities of constant change. Mr T can afford to buy any luxury car he wants - yet he chooses to drive a Suzuki Swift or a Toyota Camry. Why? He says this: "how can my son (or direct report) demand for a Porsche or a Ferrari if all his poor old Dad drives is a Camry?

4. Inspiring - A leader chooses to lose himself or herself to empower others to step up to the mantle. Mr T seems to lead his team virtually most of the time - 4 out of 5 days in the week - he is out of the office! He hires good people, sets clear guidelines and then gets out of their way!

We can stop acting as a leader: 'lose our minds' from thinking what leader we should be, and instead turn inward to reflect on:

1.  who we really are (our values, experiences, strengths, vulnerabilities), and

2. why we want to lead.

We can learn to be a leader: literally 'come to our senses' to astutely observe the situations and people around us with consciousness, and choose to show who we are that is most appropriate for the greater good.

Let us lose ourselves - and partner with others in your tribe (home, work or community) to allow them to step up into leadership opportunities for a common vision.Let others be a leader.

Surrender to succeed. Together.