How to Be a Great Leader Without Following “Be Yourself” Mentality
The age old advice to “be yourself” doesn’t work because it has become a cliche. Like something that has been overused with time losing it’s worth. This is why even though the advice is true, but the interpretation that most people get from this advice is wrong. So someone has to come and say to people to stop “being themselves” because the meaning this expression conveys does not provide the same benefit anymore.
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To get to the actual meaning of “be yourself” we have to take our argumentation to a greater level of understanding. We have to understand the personality of an individual by taking help from psychology.
Psychology helps us know the innate personality that every human being is born with, which remains native to every individual throughout his life.
The different personalities that people have can be classified on the basis of a number of factors and one of them is “motive”. Understanding motives is important to recognizing who we are and what we stand for.
Motives That Guide Us
Motives are like carvings at the back of our head that guide our behavior. For example, the argumentative behavior stems from the motive of power. If someone is shy, then his inner motive is peace. If someone is caring and likes doing things for others, his inner motive is love. And lastly, if someone is carefree and lives an adventurous life, then his guiding motive is to have fun.
So in total, there are these 4 primary motives that guide us. The concept of motives define who we are in one word yet there lies so much that doesn’t meet the eye in a single glance.
Understanding An Individual
Understanding ourselves begins with coming to grips with the motive that drives our personality. For example, take the motive of peace. People who are driven by peace can be best described as individuals who have a desire to maintain peace within their minds.
So they tend to do or not do those activities that will disturb this peace. Because of this, an unhealthy trait of their personality is not being able to stand for their rights by being non-confrontational. They want to maintain peace so they will avoid changing the status-quo, no matter how worse it is making their lives.
A healthy trait of their driving motive is being able to concentrate on things for long. Because of their desire to be at peace they hate being distracted by others. This lets them excel at professions that want a detailed level of thinking like engineering and research areas.
Now just as the motive of peace can give rise to a behavioral attitude in one’s personality so is the case with other three motives. Motives can also reflect themselves in smallest things that people do.
Meaning Of Being Yourself
Let’s separate the misunderstandings about being yourself. Being yourself is not about sticking with all the traits of your personality no matter how unhealthy they are. Being yourself begins by being true to your core motive because no matter what you do it will be hard to let it go off without understanding how that works.
You can try to fight your core motive, but this will waste a lot of your time. Abandoning your core motive will leave you in distress. As you will also have to give up the strengths that your core motive provides you. So it’s a bad idea.
What Great Leaders Do
Great leaders are not born, they are made. Today we can give more meaning to this statement. Great leaders never abandon their true core motive. They embrace it. Next, they work on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their core motive. Once they do it they eliminate the weaknesses and try to amplify the strengths.
But this is not all that they do. It is just the beginning of the story. They also recognize the fact that being yourself is just the first step to being a leader. The next step is to draw the healthy traits of other three motives. In this, they learn from others.
What Leaders Learn From The Motive of Power
The motive of power provides strength to a leader. People with power as a motive are practical, logical and unidirectional, but they are also argumentative and stubborn towards those above them. They are poor when it comes to dealing with emotions of other people because of their practical nature.
Power hungry people want an upper hand in situations and this leads to argumentation and sometimes rudeness in behavior. They are also hell bent on proving their worth because they want others to appreciate them more than anything else.
This makes them a hard worker because they spent their lives in proving themselves. But this also leads to a fast and unidirectional growth in their career. Their practicality makes them good decision makers. Leaders who can adapt good traits from the motive of power earn great respect from others.
What Leaders Can Learn From The Motive of Love
The motive of love provides a moral stand to a leader. This is one trait that every great leader should possess because it provides them the strength to be fair to those under him or her. People with love as their motive want to do selfless things for others and in return want others to do the same for them. They like spending time in developing relationships and they are always guided by the morality of the selfless nature that they possess.
However, this selfless desire of a reciprocative love can affect their lives if they don’t get what they want i.e. love. If this happens they become insecure to develop further relations and start underestimating the power of their core motive.
People with love as a motive do exceptionally well if they are able to bend their affections for things that really matter. Like fruitful relations that can help them grow, or love for their own career. Because their love is selfless they don’t crave money and are able to live a happy life doing what they love. Something that every leader no matter where they stand can learn.
What Leaders Can Learn From the Motive of Peace
The motive of peace provides an inner energy to a leader. Peace loving people are able to work diligently as they hate distractions. They love going into depths of the matter which makes them good logicians and they are guided more by their inner strength than the outer because they are unable to foster good relationships and they hate asking for help.
Peace loving people can sound boring and dull on the outer surface but internally they are full of knowledge and facts. It’s only that they are unable to find a way to channel that onto others. This is because they are too busy spending time with themselves and forget to learn how things work socially. Those who are able to get away from this social restriction do very well and become a source of motivation for others. All they need to do is to spend time in overcoming their comfort zone of peace by being more confrontational.
What Leaders Can Learn From the Motive of Fun
The motive of fun helps leaders by making people enjoy their company. This also makes them increase their following. The adventurous and carefree nature of the fun motive people helps leaders take matters lightly and to be able to handle time pressure and risk well. Fun loving people are always ready to take risks as it is a part of their learning curve. They are also able to make others enjoy their company and make people do things for them. A trait that every leader should possess.
People with fun as their motive prove to be great leaders because in a sense they already have the ability to make people follow them. If they are able to combine it with the ability to work hard and take good decisions they reach the top spot of leadership position very early in their lives.
The Final Step to Leadership
Finally, there will be many people who will find their personalities guided by multiple motives and they will also show traits of all of the above personalities. It’s because they have already started to adapt what they find good in other personality types. But whatever be the case people are always strongly guided by one true inner motive at some point in their lives.
If they are not able to identify the true guiding motive of their nature they always remain under its influence. Once they know it, the process of self-development becomes crystal clear to them and they are able to set out their own path in life. And that’s how great leaders are made.
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Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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Originally published at LinkedIn.com