We propose that you can’t fully actualize your leadership potential without first eliminating drama from your life, your team, and your organization. The challenge is that you come hardwired for drama, but you do not come hardwired for leadership, although leadership is a choice you can make at any point in time.
Why don’t more people make this choice? The answer is that all human beings are born into an environment of dependency. Of all the species on the planet, we are most dependent upon our parents; we couldn’t survive without them. When you were born, you were completely dependent upon your parents or caregiver for your survival. When infants and children are incapable of meeting their own needs, they must depend upon the external environment to meet their needs. No other species is reliant or dependent upon external resources for as long as a human child. We learn how to be dependent before we learn how to speak, and therefore dependency is in our deep, long term memory.
This concept begins to provide us with a bit of insight into how this dependency became imprinted and patterned, and how it can continue on into later life. In our brain’s early stages of development, we create neurological patterns of dependency. These patterns set the environment that leads to drama. We are all wired for the roles of drama; it comes as standard equipment with every human being. What is optional, however, is leadership. Leadership development takes an intentional choice and every person has to make it for themselves. Making this choice is the start to unlocking an individual’s full potential.
Leadership, at its most basic level, is found in your ability to choose, to be clear about your intentions and actions. Leadership is a choice and must emanate from within you—whether you are the leader of a nation, a company, a softball team, or no one but yourself. When you lead, you free yourself from being a slave of circumstances. The subsequent power you receive from your choices enhances your ability to create, actively join with others, develop new ideas, and generate value for your society and yourself.
Genuine leadership has to come from within. You must be true to yourself by exploring your own motivations, gathering feedback on your personal behavior, and ensuring that your actions are consistent with your stated values and principles. This can be done by carefully examining the choices that you make. For example, take the time to pause and ask yourself, “Am I on automatic pilot here, or did I choose this path?” It is always our choice to participate in a particular action. If we assume that others are responsible for our actions and that we are just spectators who do not choose to be responsible, then others may just lead us into a future that we do not want. It is always a choice to not be responsible, but we lose the power to make a difference when we give up our birthright to choose.
You get to choose your response at any moment in time. Boldness and choosing to act creates results, and shifting from drama to leadership pays off with big dividends. If you make the choice for leadership often enough, you establish a pattern that will serve you for the rest of your life; additionally, establishing this pattern is the best way to create an environment where drama cannot exist.
By simply shifting your language from saying “I have to go to work” vs. “I choose to go to work,” you will increase your energy. If you practice making more choices, you will increase your energy. The true definition of leadership is in its ability to generate more energy both for you and the people you lead. The more you choose, the more energy you will generate. Abdicating your ability to choose is still a choice but it is not a wise one. Being a leader that generates a positive energy is the best way to keep yourself and your team out of drama. The world needs leaders in every capacity and we could do with a lot less drama.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Charlie Sheppard is the founder and CEO of Sheppard Partners, a company on the forefront of unleashing the full potential of people and teams through superior training and consulting methodologies. He is an internationally recognized leader in executive and team development. His courses and trainings have been delivered around the world. He is a highly engaging speaker and is in constant demand for his Leadership is a Choice(r) and “Eliminating Drama” keynotes. He is also a professor at Hult International Business School teaching leadership and management. He is also the founder and CEO of KnoNow, a pioneering e-learning and social networking platform. This online tool accelerates both learning and measurement of the transfer of knowledge in an organization. KnoNow is pioneering the field of knowledge as a service (KaaS), creating for organizations a competitive advantage. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.