Discover your True North

Warren Bennis is one of the pioneers in the field of leadership. He was the first to say that the real source of leadership is not a set of skills, but something within you.

“Leadership has to do with who we are as human beings, with the forces that have shaped us; …,  it is always about authenticity.”

Bill George, author of Finding your True North, interviewed more than a hundred CEO’s and leaders across the world. This served as a basis for his guide to becoming an authentic leader, following his True North.

Bill George, author of Finding your True North, interviewed more than a hundred CEO’s and leaders across the world. This served as a basis for his guide to becoming an authentic leader, following his True North.

Your True North is your compass needle point that pulls you towards the real purpose of your leadership. When you discover it and follow it your leadership will be authentic as your truth is derived from your life story. The hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself. But once you are comfortable with who you are, leading others authentically becomes easier.

Your life story is your foundation and shapes how you see the world. It influences who you are as a leader. And any life goes through peaks and valleys. As you gain insight in your life story, through reflexion and introspection, you will discover the focus of your True North.

So the leadership journey begins with understanding yourself: your life story with its ups and downs; the impact of your parents; teachers; coaches; mentors; communities; leadership in team sports; scouting; earlier jobs; difficult experiences and feelings; etc. This knowledge gives you the needed self-awareness to discover your True North.

What is important is how you frame your stories. The story of your life is not your life, it is your story. It is how you understand yourself through your stories, and how you act upon it that shapes your approach to the world and to leadership within that world.

Setbacks in life and in leadership put you to a test. But very often, leaders emerge from it even stronger. Life is not always fair, but the important thing is how you deal with these difficult situations, how you reframe them to understand yourself fully and grow.

The values that form the basis for authentic leadership are derived from your beliefs and convictions, but you will not know what your true values are until they are tested under pressure. It may be relatively easy to list your values and to live by them when things are going well. And yet, when your success, your career, or even your life hangs in the balance, you learn what is most important, what you are prepared to sacrifice, and what your deeply held values truly are.

Leadership principles are values translated into action. Having a solid base of values and testing them under fire enables you to develop the principles you will use in leading.

  • What people or experiences have shaped you?
  • What have been turning points in your life?
  • Where in your story do you find your passion to lead?
  • What are your guiding principles and values?

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