Lead from the Core

For some, leading others comes naturally. For others, it’s something we have to intentionally work at. Regardless of how you’ve come to lead others, leading must come from your core.

In a recent one-on-one with an emerging leader, I questioned her on a decision that she made that wasn’t to my liking. Her response was, “Well, I didn’t feel good about it, but I know that it has been done that way before.”

I put this young leader in the position she is in, not because of her experience, but because of her core. I need, want, and expect her to make decisions from her core. I trust her core more than some of the old legacy policies that have been in place. Because she didn’t tap into her core, I didn’t get her best.

You see, your core dominates every talent that you have. You might be a great decision maker during crises, but your core will dictate your decisions. When I find a leader with the right core, I know I just need to teach them the basics, then give them freedom and guidance. And, I don’t want my leaders mirroring another leader’s core simply because that leader has a title. I hired their core. So I need them to use it.

How do you lead from the core?

  • Be yourself. Stop trying so hard to be someone different than who you really are. Learn from others leaders, but don’t mimic them.
  • Care about people. Truly effective leaders find fulfillment in leadership because they really truly care about growing, coaching, and serving the people around them. Find out what your teammates want to achieve, then figure out how you can help them get there.
  • Move from mechanics to your gut. Early on, we rely on mechanics to lead, following prescribed processes for one-on-ones, difficult conversations, and giving direction. Over time our mechanics should transition into gut instinct, when we allow our core to guide our decisions and actions.
  • Stick to your standards. Core leadership means your standards, values and ethics are not negotiable. Regardless of what’s going on around you, you don’t change who you are or what you stand for.

What other characteristics illustrate leading from the core?

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