Transforming Leadership: The 3 Basics

I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don’t lie outside, in the study of the stars and the planets. They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul. Until we understand what is within, we can’t understand what is without. —Anita Moorjani, Dying To Be Me

Row of daisiesThere is a lot of discussion in the news this week about leadership. Society expects a great deal from leaders who are in a position of authority, as we should. We want them to provide us with moral direction. We look outside ourselves to identify leadership weaknesses; and the truth is, we don’t have to look too hard. In my work with organizations, employees find it challenging to identify positive role models and examples of effective leadership in the workplace. It is more common, when asked for a positive example, for examples of ineffective leaders to be cited. Why is this? There are several contributing factors, but I believe that one factor is a disempowered mindset. Because we don’t often spend enough time looking within to identify our own strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

What do we expect from ourselves as leaders? How do we influence without authority? When do we take a stand? How do we listen to others with respect when their opinion is morally or ethically opposed to our own? When does another’s rights to freedom of speech cross our own boundary line? How do we lead when faced with differences that seem vast and insurmountable? Can we find our power without force or violence?

Learning to lead skillfully, artfully, and mindfully is paramount; if the conflicts in our homes, at work, in our communities, in politics, and in society as a whole are to find peaceful and productive resolution.

I have been delivering Leadership Basics for over ten years. The program was initially developed to answer questions, such as; What is leadership; How do I lead and influence without position; Who am I as a leader; What is the value in different leadership styles? In 1.5 days, the program raises these questions, and seeks to set each person on a quest to find the answers for themselves. And it’s a great starting place, but transforming leadership takes more than attending one workshop.

Leadership development is a life-long pursuit, that demands leaders to continually re-focus on Self-awareness, Interpersonal Relationships, while developing a Global Mindset. I challenge you to consider these questions:
• Where do I need to take a stand and positively influence an outcome?
• What skills will I need to lead, while communicating productively rather than destructively?
• What’s at stake if I don’t choose to lead?

Start your leadership journey today


Deb Siverson is an author and president of Xponents, Inc. Her book, “The Cycle of Transformation: Igniting Organizational Change through the Leader Coach”, encourages transparent and emotionally-connected conversations at work. Her company’s focus is to bring out the best in people by recognizing and aligning unique talent, values, and purpose.


Pattern of Integrity

I recently delivered our Leadership Basics program to a really great group at Bureau of Reclamation.  This is a fun program to lead because the participants really love reconnecting with who they are.   The morning of the first day, I do this exercise on values; because I believe that a component of leadership presence comes from living your values at work.  Someone that I had invited to observe the session was noticeably touched as she gained a deeper level of awareness about who she is at her very center, and what is crucially important for her.  Our lives can get so full and yet we can feel so empty.

There is a little model I keep playing with that helps me make sense of the larger complexity that is life.  I have this acronym that I call the Power of Y.  I go back and forth thinking it is a bit cheesy and then later I fall back in love with the symbolism and meaning it creates for me.  Anyway, I think of it as a pattern of integrity.  If any of you have ever read the book Steering by Starlight, the author Martha Beck tells a story about how this guy had to have his nose reconstructed from a piece of his ear, and how from time to time his nose kept trying to grow in to an ear as the cells tried to regroup into the essence of what they were intended to be.  It sounds a bit far-fetched, I know, but there you have it.  I had to do a little research myself, because it felt unworldly to me like something from a Dr. Seuss book.  That created this image in my mind of a caricature with an ear growing from the place that his nose should be.  It is not my intent to make light of another’s tragedy and the real lesson here is there is a pattern integrity that tells a cat to be a cat rather than a dog, an ear to be and ear, and you to be who you were meant to be.

So back to my main point, this Power of Y that I was penciling out and fixated on some time ago, only recently reentered my awareness when I came across it again while going through some old notes.  Take a look at the diagram below. What do you see?

Do you believe like me that it is your life’s work to uncover the truth that lies within…to remember who you really are and what you have to offer?  I know you might be thinking that if the Power of Y truly is like a blue print of who we are at the core and it conspires to shape us in to what we were always intended to be then doesn’t that feel a bit like fate?   Yes and No.  I’m not advocating fate as the preferred explanation.  I do think fate gives us the pieces and the parts but it is ultimately up to us to align them in such a way that they create a kaleidoscope that is rich in texture and color. The perfect pattern that makes our heart sing and the heart sound we create is exactly what the world needs… and the possibility of it already exists embedded within you.

Why fight it?  If an ear can’t forget it’s an ear, then you must be working really hard to not be who you are meant to be.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.