Leading Beyond Self

Leading Beyond Self

Leading is going first

If we want to influence others, we need to be with them in a responsive rather than reactive way.

If you’re a parent maybe you’ve noticed that your kids generally model themselves on how you’re being instead of what you say and do. If you raise your voice and tell them to settle down, there’s a high chance they’ll react to your state of being (annoyed) instead of your instruction.

This phenomenon occurs with everyone we interact with to a greater or lesser degree, whether with employees, colleagues, friends or family.

If you want to lead others you need to lead yourself first, enabling you to show up selflessly. You do that by getting your-self out of the way.

By ‘self’ I mean identification with our personality structures – our habitual thinking and behavioural patterns, attitudes, , beliefs, values, the roles we play and the labels we give ourselves and so on.

When we identify with our personality and someone says something that challenges who we take ourselves to be, we personalise their statement and want to defend ourselves.

For example, if I identify as a woman and someone says something about women, because its personal for me I experience being offended, or not counted in some way. But you see it’s not actually their statement that impacts me. It’s the meaning I make out of it that I then attribute to their statement because of how I identify which is the real cause of my struggle.

If I free myself of identity structures but still have and own my preferences and choices, when someone says something about being a woman there is no hook for me – in fact their statement tells me more about them than it does about me.

Leadership then is self-leadership. It isn’t in what you’re doing, its who your being. It’s going first by clearing your-self out the way. When you clear you stuff out the way you can be there with people in a selfless way to facilitate them clearing their stuff, so they can be with their people in a selfless way…

Leadership isn’t another model, it isn’t another doing, it isn’t even a way of thinking – and it comes uniquely from who the person is behind all their stuff.

When it comes down to it, most leaders know what to do, they’re just not doing it because they get them-self in the way.

When you get out the way your own unfolding and your own truths start to come forward in an authentic way and your own leading style emerges.


Developmental coaching is one of the most effective ways to clear your identity structures freeing you to be an effective leader. If you’d like to know more about self leadership, and how to get yourself out of the way, drop us a line.

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