Leadership anchors are your “rules of engagement” that govern your leadership style.
This thought comes from Liz Cornish, author of Hit the Ground Running: A Woman’s Guide to Success for the First 100 Days on the Job.
Defining Your Anchor
For some, anchors are a personal vision, a set of personal values and guiding principles that govern daily interaction, says Cornish. For others, it is an explicit set of behaviors. She also suggests that defining and communicating your own leadership anchor(s) inspires confidence and allows your stakeholders to envision what their world is going to be like under your leadership.
I suggest that you self-reflect on your leadership experience, brainstorm the values and principles that guide your own leadership style, and narrow it down to a single anchor which defines and guides you as a leader.
I believe that having a single leadership anchor is more effective because it forces you to define yourself with one simple statement and, such as with any brand, it serves as a capsule or tagline for your personal leadership brand.
Establishing Your Anchor
The central principle that I established for myself several years ago and which continues to serve as my non-negotiable leadership anchor is:
“If you go on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll go on getting what you’ve always got.” ~Warren Bennis
In order to achieve continual growth as a leader and personally, my anchor reminds me that I must regularly re-invent myself, and I must take risks. I realize that the only way to advance is by acting, not by contemplating.
Refining Your Anchor
The following additional quotes are closely tied to my personal leadership anchor, and will always motivate me. They capture the key elements of my own leadership and growth philosophy, and guide the conduct of my interpersonal and professional life for the foreseeable future:
- “If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” ~Robert Fritz
- “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~Michelangelo
- “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” ~T.S. Eliot
Note: I chose to use a quote to define my own leadership anchor, and included some supporting quotes for self-motivation, but your own leadership anchor does not need to make use of any quotes. However, I feel that having a few meaningful quotes to support your anchor is a good idea. Regardless, it’s your anchor!
What is your personal leadership anchor—the guiding principle that defines you as a leader? Do you know? If not, what can you do to uncover, or discover, or create one? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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