The Nuances of Leadership – Lifestyle
Posted on April 15th, 2017
Serving the public and leading a nonprofit organization requires knowledge, skills and experience, but it also requires the ability to develop relationships. A leader’s role changes with each person they interact with. Each person comes with a different perspective and expectation. You could interact with two people in the same exact way, yet each can leave with a different perception about who you are.
I believe how you look and how you conduct yourself in your professional life – and in your personal life – will influence who and to what degree people are willing to follow your leadership. The clothes you wear, the car you drive, where you live, how you participate in your community and your personal lifestyle all affect the perceptions others hold about you. That also affects your ability to relate to others.
I’m not concerned with keeping up with the latest fashions or how I am perceived based on the car I drive. I do dress professionally, but I don’t push the fashion envelope. I drive an older station wagon, because its so practical. I live in modest neighborhood, in a new sustainable home that my partner and I built in 2006. (He actually built it. I showed up every once-in-a-while to hand him things.)
I believe my lack of interest in the material world makes it easier for clients, staff, volunteers to relate to me, and I like that. On the other hand if I had more interest in an upwardly mobile image and lifestyle it would probably make it easier for me to connect and relate with those who possess the wealth and influence, which would further my motivations to accomplishment more social good.
I am not saying that that one lifestyle is right and the other way is wrong. I’m simply saying lifestyle plays a part in your ability to get others to believe in you/identify with you/follow you/support you. Each has its own set of pros & cons.
I encourage you make your own observations and ask yourself how does your lifestyle impact your professional life. How does it affect your ability to relate to others, form meaningful relationships and still be true to whom you are and what you want to accomplish as a leader?