Leading from the inside, out

by Brian Brittain on August 2, 2019


Some of us, at some point in our lives will go through a developmental shift in our minds, from consciously and unconsciously acting out of a response to the expectations of others (family, spouse, teachers, bosses, etc.) to realizing one day, we should allow ourselves to be influenced by others but not compelled to operate out of their implicit and explicit directions. We have developed our own internal guiding light, maybe a set of values or principles that inform our decisions.

We find ourselves operating from the inside out, not from the outside in. We no longer are addicted to having others validate us. We self-validate.

Most of the leaders we truly admire operate from this internal place, from the inside out. They listen, they can be influenced, but they don’t automatically react on others’ directions. They decide what matters based on an internal code they have developed, listen to the input from others, integrate that input with their internal code, and then operate from this place.

Another way of thinking about this, is that their locus of control is inside and not outside. Most people have an external locus of control. The best leaders have an internal locus of control. It is clear what they stand for in the behaviours we observe from them. This internal locus of control is required for a leader to be able to lead fundamental change in an organization. Many of us never get there. Many of us are in transition between being other-directed and self-directed.

Where would you put yourself on this continuum? Are you able to lead yet?

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