All Great Leaders Know Exactly Who They Are.
Look at Kobe, Oprah, Musk, Schwarzenegger, Gates, Buffet and Mother Theresa – they don’t try to be someone else. They understand where they have talent and where they are weak. They know exactly who they are.
Kobe isn’t a governor, Oprah and Musk don’t play professional basketball, Schwarzenegger isn’t a speech therapist, Gates and Buffet aren’t bodybuilders, and Mother Theresa didn’t start an electric car company. They play to their strengths and use their talents to create world-class results. If you want to replicate their success, you must know yourself. This article discusses 5 different strategies to know exactly who YOU are and grow the leader within you.
1. The Gold Standard: Strengthsfinder Test
The Strengthsfinder test has been the gold standard in strengths-based profiling for 15 years. You get a breakdown of your top 5 strengths (out of a possible 34). Each combination of strengths is unique to you and is ranked. The test gives you a framework to understand your strengths and create a leadership growth plan based on those talents. The downsides of the test are minimal. There is a cost (12-15 USD), it requires further reading and it forces you to think (hopefully that doesn’t scare you). The reward and value to you will be 100X or 1000X what you pay. If you haven’t taken the test or are new to strengths based profiling, start here. Where to take it: Gallop Strengths Center
2. Your Personality Profile: Myers Briggs
The Myers Briggs personality test has been around for decades. The test is a breakdown of 4 key personality traits which are given a corresponding letter. There are 16 Myers Briggs personalities in total and each has its breakdown of personality characteristics. The value of the test lies in understanding your levels of extroversion and finding a leadership style that uniquely suits your personality. The Myers Briggs test with the Strengthsfinder should give you a good overview. Do this after the strengthsfinder. Where to take it: 16 Personalities. This is my favorite online (and free) Myers Briggs. You can pay more for a professional evaluation but this is a great place to start (after the Strengthsfinder).
3. Your Personality Archetype: How To Fascinate
This one is different. Sally Hogshead has created something that combines personal branding with talent profiling. While it doesn’t have the decades of research, it’s quickly gaining momentum as more people take the test and find value in the results. The primary focus of this test is to teach how to use your talents to inspire and stand out from the crowd. For anyone interested in personal branding it is an absolute must. The cost is 20 USD and is well worth your investment. Combining this with the strengthsfinder and Myers Briggs will help create your complete personality profile picture. Do this one 3rd. Where to take it: How to Fascinate
4. Your Unique Strengths: Feedback Analysis
This is the least sexy of all the approaches. It’s slow, boring, takes a lot of time and consistent effort. However, those that do it can become leaders much faster than their peers. Peter Drucker called it ‘Feedback Analysis’ and said it was the only true way to discover your strengths. For thousands of years, world leaders have been using variations of ‘Feedback Analysis’ to create the foundation for their leadership power. This strategy works because your strengths are completely unique to you. Your combination of DNA and your life experiences make up who you are and can’t be duplicated. How to do it:
- Get a real pen and a real notebook with real paper (tablets and iPhones don’t count).
- Each day check in with yourself and ask “what did I do well today?” and “what could I have done better?“
- Before you make big decisions write out what you expect will happen. Then, 9 to 12 months later compare the results (what actually happened) with what you thought would happen. This is especially important for those already in leadership positions.
- Look for patterns in your results and ask:
- What’s working and what isn’t?
- Which habits, actions and behaviors are generating the greatest returns?
- Where am I talented and where do I have weakness?
If you are consistent, within a few years you’ll have an intuitive understanding of where you have talent and where you are weak. If your goal is to develop visionary leadership instincts, this is it.
5. Your N=1 Experiment: The Matrix Method
For the analytical spreadsheet fans in the house, you’re going to like this. It takes a special type of habit tracking nerd to really enjoy this. But if that’s you, here’s how it works:
- Define what you want in life – What do you want? What do you want to create? What do you want do be?
- Create your “Success Habits” – what are the things you must do in order to achieve your goal.
- Write your “Success Habits” in a column sounds of the spreadsheet.
- If you do the “Success Habit” give yourself a 1. If you fail to do it, give yourself a 0.
Your goal is simple – do your “Success Habits” every day until what you want, is who you are.
Still interested? Check out this post on the Matrix Method. You will find out very quickly which habits are empowering and which ones are holding you back. It also gives you a 20,000 ft view of your life so you can make higher level decisions. This strategy provides instant feedback that makes the intangible, now tangible.
The strategies listed here are effective for developing the fundamental leadership qualities seen in the world’s top performers. Each strategy works well and is worth your time, money, energy and effort. Remember: All external growth (making more money, better relationships, business growth, leadership strength, etc.) starts with internal growth. It begins with knowing exactly who you are.
 Grover, T., & Wenk, S. (n.d.). Relentless: From good to great to unstoppable.  Maxwell, J. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you (Rev. and updated 10th anniversary ed.). Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson.
Article Inspired By Sally Hogsheads “How The World See’s You’
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