How to Become an Exceptional Leader – Part III

Discovering your personal mission in life is not necessarily a straightforward journey (as I wrote last week) but it is certainly a worthwhile one.

Having a clear sense of what your mission is, and being able to communicate that sense of purpose to others is an essential part of exceptional leadership – and – the basis for gaining others’ commitment to follow you.

missionA great place to start?  Use your talents and passions as the basis for uncovering or just deepening your understanding of your personal mission – and they’ll provide wonderful insights into your leadership style to boot. And while it’s not a “once and one” type of exercise, there are some great resources out there that can help you get clear (or clearer) on yours.  

Here’s four of them:

1)    The Gallup Strengthsfinder – Gallup has had the strengths assessment for over a decade now but in the last few years they’ve added two new attributes – the Strengths-based leadership tool (from the book of the same name) which categorizes your strengths into four leadership arenas – Execution, Strategic Thinking, Influencing others and Relationship building – giving you vital information on what your primary leadership style is, and isn’t.

And now, for less than $100you can get all 34 of your strengths in order – which not only helps you to know what talents are yours to leverage (the top 17), but also tells you which talents you have very little chance to be able to access – the bottom 17 – so you can stop trying to be good at everything and find someone to help you.

 2)    The Kolbe Index There’s another assessment tool that I’ve recently been introduced to which can also help you identify your talents, the Kolbe Index.  This tool, created by Kathy Kolbe, helps you to understand your instincts and natural drives when it comes to fact finding, following thru, starting projects and implementing and it too can be taken online for about $50.  Plus, you get a 20 minute tutorial that explains your results and what they mean from a practical standpoint.

Then, once you’ve checked out those, take a look at a concept from Dan Sullivan’s The Strategic Coach…

3)    Unique Ability: Creating the Life you Want Written by several members of Dan’s team of coaches, this book takes you thru the process of discovering what Dan calls your “unique ability” – in short – a superior ability that other people notice and value, that we love doing, that is very energizing for us and others around us and that we keep getting better at and continuing to improve upon.

Take a look at the exercises in the first two chapters of the book for a process that you can use to become clear on what your unique abilities are.  Again, the exercise does take a commitment of time but the effort is well worth what you’ll discover about yourself in the process.

 4)    And finally, from Richard Bolles the author of “What Color is Your Parachute” which has guided job seekers for decades, is a little known book, “How to Find Your Mission in Life”.  While its religious bent can be off putting for some (Bolles was a theologian at one point), I’ve found that it strikes more chords than note by talking about the higher purpose that we all have at our core to improve our world and our communities.  Very cool stuff! 

For a while it was out of print but is now even available on Kindle.  And no chapters here…it’s a very succinct book – another great, contemplative read.

 So get started today…or at the least this weekend.  Commit that you’ll spend some time over the next few months to becoming a better leader.  Not just for yourself but also for your business, your employees, your family and your community.  Who knows what you’ll discover?

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