Our leadership stories shape who we are and how we respond to situations in the day-to-day actions and decisions of leading. In his book, The Leadership Contract, author Vince Molinaro reminded me that leaders are made not born. In other words, we are shaped as leaders by our history of life experiences. So those experiences that tested our resolve and strengthened our resilience make us better leaders. Reflecting on and understanding our experiences help to shape our story. (2016)
So what is my story and why do I need one? Most of us are leaders in some time or place in our lives and will have a story about how we got there. According to Molinaro, the first step is to reflect on our personal experiences when we were at our best and when we were tested or faced adversity. From those reflections, we will begin to identify common themes of where we demonstrated toughness or resilience, and where we were proud of how we demonstrated ethical behavior or a decision that made a positive impact. The emerging story can give us some clarity about who we are and why we lead the way we do. The final step is to tell the story to those whom we lead because it is a powerful way to connect and allow others to know us at a deeper more human level.
What’s your story?
(2016) The Leadership Contract, Vince Molinaro