What Does the AdultLeader℠ Mean and Do We Really Need Another Leadership Term?

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in AdultLeader | 143 comments

The term AdultLeaderprovides a useful context to talk about my approach to leadership in my work as an executive coach.  It has proven to be helpful to my clients as they learn to focus their attention more closely on the inner source of their actions as leaders and the choices they have to make.

  1. That inner source can be the AdultLeader we choose to be when we consciously interrupt a thoughtless reaction for a positive purpose.  I think we have all had the experience of feeling really good when we chose to handle a situation like the adult we know we are capable and proud of being, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as wanted.  And more often than not, it turns out better than expected.
  2. That inner source can also be the child within us who reacts based on an unconscious interpretation of the current situation.  I have found myself reacting in a familiar, emotional, childish, and unproductive manner more often than I would like to admit.   Maybe you can relate?

The psychologist Carl Rogers talks about the idealized self and the real self.

  1. The idealized self is an image of what we think we should be, must be, or ought to be, in order to be accepted.  It is created out of what we learned from our parents and society as we navigated our childhoods.   This may not always work to get us the results we want or to be the leader or person we want to be.
  2. The real self is who we actually are.  It is the amalgamation of the unique strengths, talents and potential we were born with.

The biggest challenge in becoming the AdultLeader lies in our willingness to examine and change how we have learned to think about ourselves, others and the world.  We become the AdultLeader when we choose to act on our changed thinking for a purpose that is more important than our being right or comfortable. The AdultLeader is the self that chooses.

Leadership is your AdultLeader choosing to apply your unique strengths, skills, and experiences with self-knowledge, purpose and commitment.  It is authentically and effectively bringing your real self into the world.  Leadership then becomes a new set of priorities and authentic behaviors that will lead you to new levels of presence, capability, fulfillment and results.

I am not defining leadership as a position or as a select group of individuals.  Leadership is inherent in all of us.  It is the AdultLeader choosing how we will show up in the world.  We have the opportunity to apply leadership in any situation or role we find ourselves.

I will be exploring leadership and the AdultLeaderin future posts as I continue to challenge myself to bring my real self to you as I share my thoughts about what I have observed and learned as a human being, business leader and executive coach.  This is more important to me than being right or comfortable.

  1. What is the choice your AdultLeader is asking you to make? – behaving in a new way, sharing an idea, creating something?
  2. What is your idealized self telling you that might be causing you to hesitate?  (Mine is always pushing for perfection and avoiding being judged.)
  3. Now imagine for a minute what the outcome might look and feel like if you made the choice to go forward?

My best to you.  Please feel free to send your comments and questions.


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