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The journey to leadership

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What is your story? Everyone has a story and knowing and understanding the story is an important step in becoming an effective leader who can motivate others, develop others, and inspire others to work toward agreed upon goals. A person’s story can provide some level of context that can be shaped into an effective tool that can be used to inspire others.

“Your development as a leader is not a straight line to the top but a journey filled with many ups and downs as you progress to peak leadership and continue to leading through the final stage”(George & Sims, 2007, p. 16). The authors go on to describe three phases that are often common in leaders who are becoming more authentic and using their story to develop their leadership skills.

As described by George and Sims (2007), Phase I generally occurs during the first thirty years of a person’s life and is preparation for the development of potential exceptional leadership skills. The authors write, “This self-absorption is a natural phase of development, as the measures of success in your teens and twenties are based primarily on what you accomplish as an individual” (George & Sims, 2007, p. 18).

Phase II typically occurs in a person’s life from thirty to sixty years old. This phase is considered the “leading” phase by researchers because a person is generally participating in leadership positions during this phase of life. Often times, during this phase, people will encounter a situation that can dramatically test their understanding of core values and experiences (George & Sims, 2007).

The final phase is described as the “giving back” phase. Phase III typically begins at the age of sixty and usually occurs when leaders are at the final stages of their career/leadership roles. This last phase is often considered to be a leader’s most productive and phase because it often allows the leader to pass along the valuable experience and wisdom they have earned throughout their whole leadership career.

In today’s world, recognizing and developing one’s story as part of being authentic effective as a leader is not easy. With some practice, effective leadership skills can be developed and practiced using the following tips.

1. Work on self-awareness – recognize your own needs

2. Reflect on your life’s experiences

3. Recognize your story

4. Be persistent

Baggerly-Hinojosa (2010). Are you a 10? The ten characteristics of a servant leader. Lulu.com

George, B. Sims. (2007). True North. USA.

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