Years ago, when I was a corporate executive myself, I read and re-read Kevin Cashman's Leadership from the Inside Out. (A second edition has recently been released which I encourage you to buy.) With its emphasis on the leader as a whole person, Kevin's book really helped me get up on the balcony and look at the bigger picture of what I was trying to do, what really mattered and how I need to show up to make all of that more likely. The time I spent with Leadership from the Inside Out had a lot to do with why I became an executive coach eight and a half years ago. As Kevin would say, coaching is my "sweet spot."
So, being such a fan of Kevin's work, you can imagine how happy I was to hear him deliver the keynote presentation last week at the annual meeting of the Washington, DC chapter of the International Coach Federation. He did not disappoint. In his talk, Kevin shared 11 things he's learned in 30 years of coaching leaders. It was all good, but here are a few of his points that hit home with me that I want to share with you:
A crisis is seldom what it appears to be. As an immediate example of this principle, we're not in a financial crisis right now. We're in a character crisis. If you really look at how we got here, you almost have to conclude that he's right.
Leaders go beyond what is while managers improve what is. The point here is not that management is bad and leadership is good. They're both needed, often within the same person. Here are a few of Kevin's examples of the difference between the two:
In addition to IQ points, effective leaders need to have four other types of intelligence - emotional, learning, innovation and global. Kevin's belief is that going forward innovation will be as important to the practice of leadership as "green" is becoming to the economy.
If you're interested in stretching your perspective of what it means to be a leader, check out Leadership from the Inside Out. What else has been stretching your perspective lately?