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A Manifesto for Leadership
A deviation from the norm this week: Going deep, getting personal and not being a politician
If you’re a politician, a manifesto is something you write, publish and never refer to again after election. Arguably, at least.
This piece is about a different type of manifesto altogether; a leadership manifesto.
The intent however, as for those who wish to govern, is the same.
Its simple purpose is a declaration; of your intentions, motives, or views.
Clarifying your intentions and aspirations can significantly help you achieve them.
That might sound obvious, but adopting a passive approach to achieving something, research by Columbia’s Motivation Science Centre shows you might stand a 5% chance of success. Clarify your goal, set your intention and commit to it, and up to 70% of the time you’ll do it.
A manifesto is a way to make a public or private declaration to yourself about who you are and what you want to create. It is about reflecting deeply and setting out what is important to you. It is for you and about you.
You could write a manifesto for any aspect of your life. You might choose to write a life manifesto or focus on your wellbeing. For leaders it might be something that you do as a leadership collective at Board level or choose to do individually.
It might consist of two or three bullet points, a list of 30 or an essay. It’s your call.
My Leadership Manifesto
For the last three years, finding inspiration from my own coach, I’ve used this approach to put into words what I want to achieve. It describes who I am when I’m at my best and the leader I know I can be. It helps me when I waver and when I start to doubt myself.
One of my intentions for this year was to share my knowledge more, after years of encouragement from others. It was one of the drivers for starting this publication.
And so, in the spirit of leading and sharing with (uncomfortable) openness, here is my manifesto.
Some of the items are more aspirational than others and many need work. Those who know me will smile at some. But this is who I want to be as a leader and what I’m committing to.
How to create your leadership manifesto
If you want to actively create and hone your leadership, rather than adopt a passive approach, here are eight prompts to help you remind yourself of who you are when you’re at your best, and the leader you can be.
Some of your intentions may already be in progress, and others may be long term ‘aspirations’ that you are always working towards.
There’s no right or wrong.
I believe that I……
I am committed to….
I believe that leadership….
It’s OK to…
I am proud of….
This year I will…
After you’ve written it
Don’t be like a politician. Save your manifesto somewhere visible or make it your screensaver. Decide if you want to share it (you can share it with me if you like) but most importantly remember to use it and refer to it regularly.
Focussing your energy on what you want to achieve will start to shift your attitude and behaviour towards that very thing; energy does indeed flow where the focus goes.
You might also want to schedule your own performance review every once in a while. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
And if you’d like some help getting perspective, send a quick note to me at email@example.com and I’ll help you figure it out.
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