Old beliefs about leadership can stunt our leadership growth, unless we take time out to reflect on what leadership really is. Old command and control style of leadership is old – and ineffective for the world we are evolving towards.
Leadership is encoded in our DNA and is often undercut by erroneous and conflicting beliefs about authority, leadership, dominance, power, and winning. We too often accept many of our beliefs about these important concepts as “conventional wisdom” without questioning them. The problem is, these beliefs are not necessarily true—and, worse, they may be corrosive to healthy individuals and to healthy enterprises.
One of the most corrosive is the belief that authority is the same as leadership. In reality, this hierarchical, chain-of-command notion of leadership is a major contributor to organizational dysfunction. Too often, when we think of leadership, we envision the tough boss, the intimidating executive. Out of a desire to simply survive, we may even envision ourselves assuming a position of submission to such “leaders.”
Abandoning these outdated beliefs can be the first step in releasing your leadership insitincts and capabilities.
Developing Future Leaders
Our genetic leadership code develops over time by focusing on the following leadership mindsets, beliefs, and practices:
C-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak inclusively to develop co-creating environments. They understand how to develop inclusive environments for asking inclusive questions that open minds and inspire others to think co-creatively. By cultivating an “inclusive mindset” they continuously demonstrate greater capacity toward creating community than their peers.
H-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak appreciatively to develop humanizing environments where truth-telling abounds (candor and compassion). They understand how to develop engaging environments that honor the best strengths people can bring each other, and at the same tine are able to provide honest feedback to catalyze growth in peers, colleagues and direct reports. By cultivating “an appreciative mindset” they continuously demonstrate greater capacity toward compassion than their peers.
A-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak about the future and in doing so develop aspirational environments. They encourage people to discover their aspirations and ambitions and they encourage them to develop action plans to achieve their ambitious results. By cultivating “future site” they continuously demonstrate greater capacity toward growth and evolution than their peers.
N-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak about power and how sharing power – in the form of knowledge, support and other currencies creates a navigational environment where everyone benefits. In doing so develop navigational environments. By cultivating “sharing” they continuously demonstrate greater “we-centric” behaviors than others.
G-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak about learning, growing and nourishing each other, and in doing so develop generative environments. They have the ability to move from status quo, to experimenting with new and better ways of doing things. They take leaps of imagination to grow the business. They continuously demonstrate greater adaptability to the future that others.
E-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak about developing future leaders, which includes both nourishing them and challenging them, and in doing so develop expressive environments. They seize the opportunity for challenging people to take on bigger assignments, thereby expanding capability and capacity to develop a leadership voice. By cultivating “speaking up” they continuously demonstrate greater capacity towards mutual growth and evolution than their peers.
S-gene: Future leaders act, think and speak about ongoing evolution, which includes celebrating milestones, reinvention and sharing in a common purpose, and in doing so develop spirited environments. They are driven to take things to the next level. By cultivating a mindset of “reinvention” they continuously demonstrate greater capacity towards mutual growth and evolution than their peers.
Insight Driven: In-sight and outward-sight
What distinguishes future leaders is they exercise a combination of instinct and observation in making leadership decisions. They are mindful of when they are making assumptions and jumping to conclusions, and they will slow themselves down to take in new information that may shift the perspective on the situation.
At the same time, they develop the skills of independent thinking – and are able to hold a point of view different from others – at the same time holding the space for multiple perspectives to be shared and new insights to emerge.
The DNA of Leadership is based on the belief that our genes are encoded for leadership. By engaging with others to develop each other’s leadership capacity we are advancing our leadership capacity in our selves, our teams and our organizations. The 7 Vital Leadership Genes are the blueprint for the expression of our leadership genes.