David Corbin taught me that we need to have a new approach to success. You might say: What now, another new approach; again a new formula for leadership? Haven’t we read, written and heard enough? I believe leadership these days can be divided into two major parts:
1. The things you need to know in your particular field of leadership to be successful.
What are these things, these skills and the associated knowledge? Depending on your role, you might know how to develop strategies, you might know accounting inside out, you might need to be a master marketer, a master sales person, a super HR executive, etc. For each of these roles and all other roles in leadership, specific skills are required to be successful. There are many many books about the processes, rules, laws, procedures, etc. helping you acquire these skills. In addition you can get degrees, take classes and seminars and refine your expertise.
2. The behaviors you need to live and demonstrate and apply in leadership to be successful.
That part of the equation is just developing recently. In some places you can get certified as a coach, speaker, facilitator, and lately as a mentor. Each of these skills are provided as separate skills, most often as a pathway for a private practice. What is missing is a coordinated behavioral skill set that takes the behaviors that make a modern leader successful and put them into a program where each component in modular and comes from the same mold of experience.
What did David Corbin teach me? He pointed out that we can’t just look at our environment with a positive attitude, as many “experts” have led us to believe at the end of the last millennium. That does not mean that positive thinking is bad or wrong. It just isn’t the sole component that leads to success.
When we want to get inspired and be able to inspire others to follow us, we need to be able to create environments filled with trust, empathy, respect, accountability, energy, integrity, ethics, and several similar traits. As role models we need to walk our talk and exemplify these traits. When we want to be believable as a whole person, we need to demonstrate our specialty of skills as described in #1 above together with the behaviors described under #2 above.
Culturally this means we can learn from others. If our culture is known to be mainly skeptical and prone to see things as “glass half empty”, or we come from a culture of positive thinking, optimism, and a “class half full” approach, we can and need to learn from each other. The skeptical negativists need to open up and give new ideas, behaviors, and approaches the benefit of the doubt. The optimists and positive thinkers should apply David’s idea of illuminating the negative things by finding them through inquiry, discuss them to find ways to overcome – or fix them, and then implement ways to avoid them from resurfacing.
Being rounded, whole, holistic in our balance between positive and negative as well as our hard skills and leadership behaviors allows us to become the best we can be and in the process, inspire others to follow us.
Dr. Axel Meierhoefer