Just One Thing—Leader: To Thine Own Self Be True

Just One ThingI was struck by the simplicity and power of an observation from one of the (early career) participants in a recent leadership program of mine.

After studying different styles and approaches and examples of leaders, he indicated that he was walking away from the program with a sense that there was no one style he was required to emulate on his path to leadership success.

From his comments, it was clear that he found it liberating that he could cultivate his own style and not force himself to fit into someone else’s template for what makes a successful leader.

For many of us, it takes years to figure this out.

While there are common building blocks inherent in effective leadership: respect, trust, guidance, teaching, coaching, setting direction etc., there are no rules on templates or molds that dictate our own personal style.

From Jobs to Hshieh to Schultz to Bezos and across all of history, great leaders achieved great results through and with others and did it in their own unique way. 

There’s pressure in our corporate environments and even in much of the training and development on leadership and management to fit into a mold.

Screw that.

There’s no growth, fun or reward in trying to fit into the molds of even the most successful leaders in your culture. And in fact, by trying to be someone your not, even in a positive attempt to emulate a good role model, you’ll be short-changing yourself and your teams.

Experiment. Display your passion. Rethink conventional wisdom.

Make your own mold. And then break it.

To thine own self be true.

More Professional Development Reads from Art Petty:book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register here

For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check out Art’s latest book: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.

New to leading or responsible for first time leader’s on your team? Subscribe to Art’s New Leader’s e-News.

An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.



By | 2016-10-22T17:11:19+00:00 October 9th, 2013|Career, Just One Thing, Leadership|0 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.

Leave A Comment