Less self-optimization, more self-acceptance!

Good Leadership comes from the Inside! 

There are not only articles on job interviews, but texts and books on “good management” are also rising in number. I don’t know about you guys, but I finished the year 2016 feeling like I read how leadership is done correctly somewhere else every other day. And 2017 has started similarly in its first few days, because headlines of different channels have already reached me: “What a good Boss must be like!” “Leaders of today have to be leaders of tomorrow “…

I’m fed up – and I say this as a Leaderdship Coach and Organizational Consultant. I work with great leaders and I am passionate about leadership issues, reflect on today’s leadership styles and develop ideas for effective leadership – but I currently have the feeling that the optimization of leadership is slowly being treated a bit inflationary.

The mass of leadership reading makes me tired and a little angry. Every day we have to read anew what leadership is and what a leader has to pay attention to and cover and so on. And if I put myself in the position of a leader, then you, dear executives, must be particularly tired of this? Every day a steady flow of development is laid out before you….

“Don’t do this, don’t do that, but lead even more.”

An executive doesn’t have the time or the desire to read a new book every week, which, in return, gives them the sense that he or she has to invest even more work (in his or her leadership role).


Leadership higher, faster, further

Self-optimization pressure does not halt before executives either. In today’s world, it seems to hover over everything we are and what we do: “You are not enough”, which means that we mostly feel a latent dissatisfaction, because there are still more and more things to be achieved. And we can and should reinvent ourselves again and again. Managers are particularly aware of this, as the companies set their targets higher from quarter to quarter. Managers and their employees are thus constantly expected to top the company’s profits and become even better.

It is not my intention at all to argue that we should stop developing and increasing results, but I would like to point out that we should not always run after “more”, especially as managers. Instead, we could learn to accept ourselves again as a person in our (leadership) role. The more satisfied I am with myself as a manager and the more I am aware of myself, the more pleasure I can feel in leading my employees and my company into the future. It’s the same with driving change in companies. Not every change program suits the company, so we should all start realizing more how we are and what actually works for and with us instead of  implementing the new by hook or crook.


We’re all (strong) enough

It would be nice if we all felt big and strong – from within ourselves. When I think of this topic I always think of Janosch, because the little bear says to the little tiger: “I am strong like a bear and you are strong like a tiger. That is enough.” Janosch draws our attention to the fact that everyone is uniquely strong and powerful.

I sincerely hope for today’s leadership that it will again be more about strength and energy from within, rather than about the outside.

I hope that leaders know their limits and openly express them.

I want companies to establish management cultures that provide strength and focus on working together as a team.

Then, we would require less input from outside, like from inspiring speakers or clever professors, we would have to read fewer books on leadership approaches, and we would no longer have to attend leadership seminars and the like.

Then we manage to be at peace with ourselves through careful reflection and rely on ourselves.

Then we have a greater (self-)confidence which we can use to joyfully, but not unpleasantly do or not do things and let ourselves be carried away by the dynamics of the “higher, faster, further”.

This would result in executives who live leadership responsibly by empowering themselves and their employees and keeping them strong.


But more self-acceptance does not grow overnight?!

Finally, I ask myself whether my desire for more strength and self-acceptance makes you feel that you have to “do more” again to get there. Then this article would be part of the series of leadership optimizations that annoy me so much. After all, it’s not easy to deal with yourself, especially if you’re not used to it.

But I want to encourage you to take it easy and just start. Basically, it’s all about changing perspectives in everyday situations: instead of watching and reflecting on others, observe and reflect on yourself. This generates a lot of exciting insights.

I wish us all a year with more self-acceptance and powerful moments!

This article was also published on EDITION F – read here. 

Photocredit: Riccardo Annandale – unsplash.com

Less self-optimization, more self-acceptance!