Leadership Training – Setting you FREE

In my role as a family business consultant, I many times coach and train CEOs, top managers and family business owners on leadership. Such training is mainly intended to give an opportunity to such persons to look within themselves and understand that what’s going on inside themselves and how that is influencing their actions. I frequently discover that CEOs, top managers and family business owners lack a solid understanding of themselves and what’s going on within them, leaving all this as as a vast unexplored territory. That includes what they’re feeling, why they’re feeling that way and how past experiences in their lives influence the choices they’re making in the present.

Normally whenever I start training persons on leadership, they all are very willing to tell me about things that are on the outside of themselves. They tell me very little about their inner self. Which is why I then have to ask them the below questions to push them to think and reflect about themselves:-

Why are you the person and leader you are?
Who are you capable of becoming?
What’s standing in your way?

Their is a basic leadership concept which is rather simple. You cannot lead anyone before you know yourself well. Taking it a step further, you cannot lead change, before you change and transform yourself. To be a better leader, you must become a better human being. This normally means overcoming those obstacles that are holding you back from becoming a better human being – obstacles related to fixed beliefs, blind spots, biases, fears or deeply ingrained habits all of which are mostly beyond our conscious awareness.

Those business owners, CEOs and top managers that really open themselves up and allow themselves to be challenged, during such leadership training, realise that this experience is truly a liberating and empowering one. They realise that many times rather than taking concious decisions, they where taking decisions without conscious intention, but rather in an automatic, habitual and reactive mode.

Arriving so far is just the baseline. The next step is to deconstruct a leadership myth which seems ingrained in so many mindsets – the myth that a leader should always appear strong, confident and invulnerable. Deconstructing such a myth can help business leaders understand that this was truly a defensive mechanism, to remain detached and untouched by uncomfortable situations. Today’s leaders need to understand that openness, humility and the desire to grow are critical to running a modern organisation.

Many business leaders I deal with show clear signs that they have limitations and issues as how to deal with their own emotions. Normally they try to shut off their emotions and rely exclusively on their mind. This means that they are not able to deal effectively with their own feelings and emotional needs and empathy for the feelings and needs of others. This is especially true of business leaders who are motivated primarily by external rewards such as money, power and recognition – which are things that are given so much importance and value in the business and corporate world.

While being rational is important and making sure that a business achieves a good financial performance is of paramount importance, business leaders also need to be comfortable with their emotions and the emotions of those around them – as experience shows that having more personal and meaningful relationships with colleagues makes collaboration and conflict resolution much easier.

Ultimately, when training business owners and top managers, the core focus of such training is helping them to understand themselves more deeply – to tolerate more of the truth about them until it can set them free.

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