Invariably, the best CEOs spend time working to understand themselves as leaders and individuals. They look inwards and dig deep to find the root of their passion and drive for work and life.
Despite the huge hours, hard work, unforeseen challenges and never-ending burden of stakeholder expectations inherent in their role, successful CEOs gain significant satisfaction from what they do. These accomplished leaders enjoy their work, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
Does this sound like your approach to leadership and work? Maybe now is a good time to reflect on why you do what you do.
Start by examining your purpose
To be a great leader, you need to understand your passion. Ask yourself:
- What drives you as a person?
- What’s important to you?
- What are your personal values?
- What really gets your blood boiling?
- What would you like your legacy to be?
- Why are you a leader? Why not some other position?
Answering these questions honestly will help you understand the real reasons you do what you do. When you come to this understanding, you’ll be in a better position to inspire those around you.
Think about Steve Jobs’ intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology and how it guided his life – Apple and Pixar, and Simon Sinek’s “Why” – if you haven’t watched the TED talk, you should.
Of course, passion isn’t enough on its own to drive a business to achieve its goals. A business plan underpinned by a clear vision and set in motion by a team guided by shared values will always have the advantage.
Understand your limitations
While great leaders understand their strengths and leverage them, the best leaders are also aware of their limitations. Emotional intelligence is a key attribute of any great leader. While we can’t leverage our limitations in the same way as our strengths, the humility that comes with an honest reckoning of our shortcomings can be a powerful leadership tool. Take stock by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you really listen and understand what people are telling you?
- Do you have strong communication skills?
- Are you an efficient delegator?
- Do you procrastinate more than you should?
- Do you have solid financial management skills?
- Are you good at ensuring that structures, processes and policies exist for systemising and growing the business?
These questions may lead you to still more questions. That’s OK. Each question moves you closer to understanding yourself and your role within the organisation you lead.
Think about your answers and what they suggest about areas for possible self-development or improvement.
If you would like further professional guidance, complete our free online Best Workplace Assessment. We’ll use your responses to determine how your business is performing when it comes to your leadership, people and culture, and send you a tailored report with practical recommendations to improve your employee engagement and productivity.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.