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Organizations that value top-down authoritarian leadership strip leaders of their identities, defining them through the success or failure of the organization. Intelligent leaders know they have to define their leadership styles and methodologies, separating them from the performance of their organizations. Once they see their leadership as a self-sufficient entity, they can take further steps to define and solidify its identity.

“Identity is this incredible, invisible force that controls your whole life.” – Tony Robbins.

Identity determines who we are and who we perceive ourselves to be. As the foundation of one’s sense of self, identity determines one’s values and innermost moral structure. As such, it acts as the root of all inner and outer-core leadership competencies.

By stripping leaders of their identities, we render them dysfunctional, directionless, and ineffective. By focusing on reinforcing their sense of identity, we turn rudderless executive personnel into intelligent leaders capable of being effective under many different conjunctures.

Identity is the foundation of leadership. 

When Companies Strip Leaders of Their Individuality

Although the concept of intelligent leadership is not new, the industrial-age leadership paradigm has been dominant until not long ago. This “traditional” leadership style espouses top-down, rigid hierarchies, and a best practice-focused approach coupled with fear-based organizational cultures.

These circumstances often create a perfect storm of individuality suppression, stripping leaders and employees of their identities or at least forcing them to check their true identities at the door.

The leaders that such organizations churn out become as rigid as the structures that create them. Lacking individuality and an identity that would serve as the foundation of their leadership, they often failed when tasked with leading a different organization.

Leadership coaching helps leaders establish and reclaim their identities. Executive coaching can help leaders create their own formula for success, establishing their leadership brand as an entity distinct from the performance of their organization.

How Can Leaders Reclaim their Identities? 

Establishing or reclaiming your entity as a leader starts with self-awareness. In my leadership coaching books and posts, I have always insisted on the significance of self-awareness as the cornerstone of emotional intelligence and leadership identity.

Self-awareness allows you to know and respect your inner nature and recognize where you belong and where you don’t belong as a leader.

Defining Your Leadership Style

Self-awareness allows you to become aware of the approach and processes you use to complement your natural leadership inclinations. By identifying these processes, you can define your leadership style and avoid the common fallacy of copying someone else’s style and trying to adapt it to suit your needs.

Business coaching can help you ask the right questions to identify your leadership style. Once you know how you lead, your leadership coach can help you establish a methodology and framework supporting your leadership. With that, you will have captured the proverbial lightning in the bottle. Once you understand how you develop people and what you do to drive results, you’ll be able to adapt your leadership to changing circumstances.

Telling Your Story

Everyone has a story to tell, and your leadership story can inspire and motivate followers.

To reclaim your leadership identity, you must know your own story well enough to share it with others.

Learn to tell your story. 

Leadership coaching can help you discover and give structure to your story. It can help you learn about it, talk about it, and write about it.

Using Your Leadership to Spark Change

Seeing your leadership from an alternative perspective allows you to discover its place in the larger scheme of things. A bird’s eye view of your leadership identity gives you a new understanding of how you can use your skills to effect positive societal change, making the world a better place.

By volunteering in your community and learning about grassroots leadership and the social dynamics that shape it, you gain a better understanding of your own identity as a leader.

Continuing to Learn and Improve

When you learn and improve your leadership skills, you strengthen your identity and your understanding of it.

A mindset of continual improvement allows you to cement the bits and pieces that define your leadership identity.

Leadership is a journey of continual development. A leadership coaching professional can guide your steps throughout this challenging, yet interesting journey.

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