How to Decommoditize Your LeadershipAll leaders want to make a difference; be transformational. And some do and some really don’t. We’ve all known leaders that are easily replaced. And (hopefully) we’ve known some that we can’t imagine doing without.
The difference begins with the bond we create by integrating who we are with what we do. Making a difference has a lot to do with how completely we integrate what we are (our character, values and attitudes) with what we do (our competencies).
All leaders have to set direction, give orders, and display competence. But if that’s all they’re doing, they’re replaceable. What sets one leader apart from another, what makes an order compelling rather than coercive, is the kind of spirit that accompanies their actions; a commanding what-can-I-get-from-them approach or a servant what-can-I-give-them value system. But either way, what makes us take notice is their authenticity—their uniqueness. Are they being themselves or worse still, trying to be something they’re not?
It is in the visible world that our “invisible” inner world is manifested. When we integrate our whole person, we create the potential for meaning in our work, trust with those we lead, and in turn, we build our uniqueness as a leader.
In Rework, they write about building uniqueness in a business: “If you’re successful, people will try to copy what you do. It’s just a fact of life. But there’s a great way to protect yourself from copycats: Make you part of your product or service. Inject what’s unique about the way you think into what you sell. Decommoditize your product. Make it something no one else can offer.” The same is true on an individual level. You are your product. When you put more of you into the equation, you make yourself unique—even indispensable. When you add in humility, you create meaning that people can get behind.
[In Seth Godin parlance:
Indispensable + Humility = a Linchpin you can live with]
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