Tag Archive for: Articles by David Irvine

“Power Corrupts, Ultimate Power Corrupts Ultimately”

I once met a CEO who never promoted anyone until they spent a minimum of six months volunteering in a charitable organization. She understood that when working with volunteers, titles mean nothing. “If you can’t inspire and influence people without a title, there’s no way I’m putting a title in your hands.”

Here are six ways to help ensure that power doesn’t corrupt you:

  • Surround yourself with people who will be brutally honest with you – and listen to what they say.
  • Assume you are never the smartest person in the room. Adopt a growth mindset and recognise that you can learn from everyone.
  • Expect the same from yourself that you expect from others.
  • Be open to challenge and constructive debate.
  • Create an open and transparent decision-making processes, and insist that people be involved.
  • Own your mistakes, seek feedback, and make amends.

Whether power is bestowed on us by the trust of others or by added responsibility, it’s critical that we stay conscious and alert to the warning signs of when power can blind us in our ultimate accountability to be a leader with strong character.

How Do You Know If You Are Drunk On Power?

In 2020, Michelle Gibbings, from LEADERONOMICS, wrote a great article entitled, Four Warning Signs That You Are Drunk On Power. https://lnkd.in/gs5kSAZh.

Gibbings lists four warning signs:

  1. The leader thinks their rights and needs outweigh those of others and so their decision making is all about what works best for them.
  2. The leader stops listening to the ideas and opinions of others, believing that their knowledge and insights hold more weight and value than others.
  3. They ignore feedback from people seeing it as unhelpful and irrelevant, rather than reflecting on what is driving the feedback and what they may want to adjust to be more effective.
  4. They believe they are smarter than others and have little more to learn, and so they stop seeking out new ideas and diversity of thought.

What I’ve learned from the best leaders over the years is that titles don’t give you greater power. What they give you is greater accountability.

Find Your Inspired Leadership: The Power Of Your Presence

The ability to inspire separates leaders from bosses. It takes inspired leadership to create an environment where people genuinely care about their work, about each other, and about going the extra mile. Only a few leaders are able to infuse the necessary energy, passion, and connection into their team.

The ability to inspire isn’t about your proficiency. It’s about your presence.

Eight conditions that access inspiration:

  1. Curiosity. Ask people what inspires them. Bring an inquiring mind to your work, and make inspiration a priority.
  2. Attention. Inspiration is all around us, if we slow down and pay attention. One definition of leadership is the ability to amplify the beauty of the ordinary.
  3. Perseverance. Inspiration can come from the dedicated commitment to a cause greater than oneself. The courage to recover from an addiction, care for a dying loved one, or show up for a colleague are all acts of inspiration.
  4. Self-Awareness. Inspiration is about accessing energy – first of all within ourselves. To inspire others we must be inspired. What activities take your energy or give you energy? How is your own personal energy account?
  5. Connection. When we truly connect with others we make deposits in the inspiration account. Getting past the daily grind of the transactions of work and making time for connections brings a transformative quality into our work.
  6. Authenticity. When we connect with our true nature and express it consciously in our life and our work, inspiration is born. Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. What the world needs is for you to come alive.
  7. A Compelling Why. What inspires you to get up early? To stay late? To go the extra mile? Defining for yourself a persuasive, meaningful reason to get out of bed in the morning will breed inspiration within and around you.
  8. Generosity. To be inspiring, be kind. Generosity generates inspiration. What we appreciate appreciates.

While connections, courage, and compassion are conditions for inspiration, it ultimately takes commitment. It’s easier to move people than to get people moving. The most powerful inspiration is our personal commitment.

If you are committed to go beyond learning about leadership to true leadership development, check out our Authentic Leadership Academy: https://lnkd.in/gMi2euzp

And if you want a taste of the Academy, sign up for our complimentary Academy Mini-Series in March. https://lnkd.in/g4M9qpWh

How do we acknowledge – and honour – those that have passed on?

Success guru Napoleon Hill teaches that when two or more people blend the energies of their minds in harmony, a sort of “third brain” or powerful “Master Mind” is formed that can recharge their brains, refine their ideas, and provide support and inspiration. He also believed you can form your own “cabinet of invisible counselors” through a regular practice of meditation or prayer anytime you are in need of guidance, support, or inspiration.

The idea is to have an inner circle of two – ten people who have impacted your life and passed on, circle around you in your mind while you express a challenge you need help with. Then sit quietly and listen to their council.

It takes practice to let go of your thinking and tap into a “sixth sense,” which Hill described as the portion of the subconscious mind called the Creative Imagination through which ideas, plans, and thoughts flash into the mind – sometimes called “hunches” or “inspirations.”

Such meetings have led me to some amazing paths of adventure, rekindled an appreciation for those who have impacted my life, left me with many creative insights, and inspired a deeper connection to the life I am meant to live.

How do we accept that we can’t do it all and prioritize what is truly essential?

I have been supporting a friend through the slow decline of her mother as they withdraw her life support. Dying has a powerful and uncanny way of slowing us down, getting our attention, and awakening us to what truly matters.

There is a lot of expectation and confusion about what is truly important in our lives. There are so many options. So many choices. So many “shiny objects” that call for our attention.

Here’s a few ideas to help live more simply in a complex world:

  1. Stop and get your bearings. It’s an old and ironic habit to run faster when we’ve lost our way. It is always good to shut off the noise, turn off technology, and create a space to be still and listen to the voice inside. Journaling, meditation, prayer, or walks in the woods are all good tools that provide beneficial medicine.
  2. Set your own goal for a good life. I honestly used to spend money I didn’t have, on things I didn’t need, to impress people I didn’t know. Resist the tendency to follow the crowd and decide what your values are and do your best to live your life in alignment with those values. An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware cared for people in the last three months of their life and recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  3. Give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all. When you stop saying yes to everyone, you can make your highest contribution toward what truly matters. Be sure you are saying yes to truly matters to you.
  4. Bring a little more kindness into your world. Maybe the Beatles had it right. All you need is love. Striving for more, pushing for continual growth, getting more “stuff” does not make us any happier. Here’s a poem written by my favorite author, Anonymous: “I have wept in the night, at my shortness of sight, that to someone’s need was I blind. But I’ve never once had, a twinge of regret, for being a little too kind.”

Every decision we make brings us closer or further away from the life we want.

Do you agree or disagree?

If you agree, every decision becomes important, so how do we make the right ones?

The central purpose of my work is to help people connect with their true nature and express it consciously in their life and work.

I contend that the life we ultimately want is a life aligned with our true nature. Every decision we make takes us closer or further away from that life. We are born authentic, but the world tells us how we “should” be, so in order to feel safe we abandon our true self. I can’t imagine a sadder way to die than to realize you never showed up as your true self.

Authentic leadership is synonymous with being yourself, then creating environments where people can discover and express themselves. It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult.

Every time you make a choice you come closer or further away from yourself.

In the midst of all the noise, it is hard to tune in to the voice within, but living authentically is living consciously and deliberately. It starts by simply being still.

If you want to explore this concept further, check out my next complimentary webinar: https://lnkd.in/d37Prt4a
or the upcoming Authentic Leadership Academy: https://lnkd.in/gMi2euzp