Ask any leader on this planet: Do you want your people to bring their Best Selves to work? The answer would be an unequivocal “YES, of course”. In fact, the answer may include: “I and our business cannot afford anything less.”
But please think very carefully about the following question: Have you or society taught them adequately how to discover, define and consciously tap into their Best Selves, daily? Short answer: NO. Education – as is – is not the full answer – too technically focused. The odd self-awareness program is not the answer. Psychometric tests are not the answer. Upbringing should be but isn’t the answer. I can go on. How do I know these and other methods aren’t the answers? Because that’s what we have been doing and collectively speaking, we aren’t succeeding.
Most people just live from day to day; have never spent enough quality time to sit and reflect productively – for as long as it takes – on their Best Self. I’m talking about a deeply intuitive process that requires buy-in to certain universal truths before even attempting it.
In many cases this Best Self is a discovery hidden deep down, underneath a plethora of intruder, limiting and toxic beliefs fed to them from birth to present day, by far too many influences to mention. But examples would include inexperienced parents, toxic peers, weak educators, typical siblings, society at large, the self, even religion in some instances.
Do not expect your people to bring their Best Selves to work in today’s intensely challenging world without teaching them HOW.
To start, are you as their leader consciously bringing your Best Self to work, every day or at least most days. If you said yes to this answer I would immediately follow with: Please tell me about this Best Self. Define him/her to me for a few minutes. And when I am comfortable that you are sincere enough and know what you are talking about I would ask that you objectively assess how well you measure up against this person, daily.
I would also ask if you are aware of the limiting beliefs and toxic influences that tend to hide or threaten this Best Self of yours? Are you fully aware of your Worst Self? Do you know what triggers your Best and Worst Selves? Are you clear about what drives this Best Self – what are his/her authentic motivators? Do you consciously try to tap into this Best Self daily, before entering the work space or before returning back to your family? Or are you just getting up, getting ready and showing up?
You cannot expect of your people to do what you aren’t doing yourself. You can’t expect them to go on a journey of discovering and believing 100% in their Best Selves when you yourself aren’t authentically on this journey.
To take your organisation on a journey of achieving “Its Best” you have to first take your people on that same journey. They are the ones that you expect to take the organization into unchartered waters. And this is an individual journey Mr/Ms CEO. Invest in effectively helping your people – one by one – to discover their Best Selves and then how to be this person and your organisation will inevitably follow.
I think the biggest single mistake leaders are making is leading their people towards incongruence. They want to – have to – take their organisations to where it’s never before been in order for it to achieve its Best, in a world and environment that’s unprecedented. Yet, they haven’t even taken their people to that space of Best Self discovery, accompanied by unprecedented authentic confidence required to be a modern day pioneer, discoverer, leader. Trying to achieve a Best organisation with people that aren’t trained to consistently be their Best Selves is insanity and a recipe for disaster. And I hope it is clear by now that Best Self means much more than being technically proficient at ones job.
If you take anyone on a highly stressful journey of high volatility and constant change, then prepare them for goodness sake. Why are we even surprised that stress related illnesses are plaguing our society and increasing at an alarming pace; that immoral acts like fraud and corruption are also destroying organisations and nations?
Why do we continue to do the same things – train our leaders in the same ways – as we have always done, expecting different results? Maybe we tweak the programs here and there. But if we are honest with ourselves we aren’t making that necessary step change in this department. Or is there a little deceiving voice telling us society will correct itself; things will return back to “normal” in the near future? It won’t!
One of the best things we can do as leaders is to invest in our people, in such a way as to help them discover, define clearly and then become their Best Selves, so that they can give their best as a natural consequence, because they want to and because it is who they are.