“Leaders are people who are able to express themselves fully. By this I mean that they know who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to deploy their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. They also know what they want, why they want it, and how to communicate what they want to others in order to gain their cooperation and support.

Finally they know how to achieve their goals. The key to full self-expression is understanding one’s self and the world, and the key to understanding is learning – from one’s life and experience.

Leaders have no interest in proving themselves, but an abiding interest in expressing themselves. The difference is crucial, for it’s the difference between being driven, as too many people are today, and leading, as too few people do.”

Warren Bennis.

John_Raftery__2_These words by Warren Bennis serve as a timely reminder to each of us now that the tide of the economic boom has gone out. As we look around we see the hollowness of much of the business leadership over the last number of years. There is a lot of ducking and diving, a failure to accept responsibility and questions about what success really means in these changing times.

Look at the description of leadership by Bennis again and ask yourself where would we start to develop true leadership in Irish business?

Much has been written and analysed regarding leadership but at the root of true leadership is self-awareness. Knowing your strengths and weakness’ is vital. The ability to express yourself fully doesn’t just mean being a good communicator. It means expressing yourself through your actions. It is when our actions are fully aligned with our values that we use that great Irish description of someone as being “genuine”

Another word that has gone out of fashion during the boom is the word “vocation”. I know it conjures up images from dreary priest ridden Ireland but think about the word in a new light. I believe that the definition of the word Vocation can be found at the point where your strengths and the needs of the community intersect.

Think about it. We are all on a quest to find what we are good at, how we can use our creativity, ingenuity to make a living doing what we love. Real success is getting paid to do something you love to do and that is your true vocation.

LEAP Consultants have developed a unique approach to finding your true purpose. Firstly you must develop self-awareness. This is fundamental in order to avoid chasing things that will not bring fulfilment. Remember the phrase “What you are aware of you can control, what you are unaware of, controls you.”

You must create a vision that is inspiring and will motivate you to crash through the fears and doubts that keep us back. Finally you must commit to taking action

These steps form the basis for all of the LEAP  Leadership and Management programmes, which brings together the latest thinking in psychology, business leadership, executive coaching and management practices.

Mahatma Gandhi had a good phrase that captures the essence of all LEAP programmes,

“Become the change you want to see in the world.”

John Raftery