Management looks outwards, leadership starts from within

The focus of management is on looking outwards: on actions and on getting things done. Managers focus on what their people are doing today, the problems that might arise tomorrow, and on implementing the agreed plan. But leadership is different. Leadership is about making choices — and that has to start by looking within ourselves.

The first step of leadership is both deceptively simple and incredibly important: it lays the foundation for everything else that follows. The first step of leadership is the ability to bring yourself back to a state of calm inner balance and then connect strongly with who you are and what is most important to you. Only then can you take in information about what is happening outside you and decide how to respond.

The more strongly you are able to build this foundation of inner self-knowledge, the more confident and self-assured you will be and the better you will be able to lead yourself and others through a wider range of situations.

Like the roots of a tree, our ability to centre and ground ourselves is what keeps us upright during a storm. And when times are calm, the depth of our roots determines how far we are able to spread the branches of our leadership out into larger new challenges and roles, and how long we are able to sustain ourselves in a drought. For this reason, it is worth spending the time to build our roots, our foundations, deep and wide.

The first chapter of Inner Leadership contains tools and techniques for doing this: strengthening our abilities to centre, ground, and connect deeply with what matters most to us. This is the only chapter that recommends a daily practice for continual improvement.

All of our leadership and the results we can achieve in the world is built on the strength of this foundation.

How quickly are you able to return to a state of calm inner balance in any situation and connect strongly with what matters most to you? How quickly do you know what is the right response for you? Would you like to strengthen your abilities in this area?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Chad Cooper via

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