The focus of management is outwards: on action and getting things done. Managers focus on what their people are doing today, what their customers will need tomorrow, and where the market will be in a year’s time. But leadership is different. Leadership starts from within.
The first step of leadership is at once deceptively simple and incredibly important: it lays the foundation for everything else that follows. It is the ability, in any situation, to bring yourself back to a state of calm inner balance, then focus and connect strongly with who you are and what is most important to you. Only then can you take in information and decide what action to take.
Like the roots of a tree, the ability to centre and ground is what keeps us upright when storms are raging. And when times are calm it determines how far we are able to spread the branches of our leadership out into larger challenges and roles. For this reason, it is worth spending the time to build our foundation deep and wide.
Chapter 1 of Inner Leadership contains tools and techniques for strengthening our abilities to centre, ground, and connect deeply with what matters most to us. It is the only chapter that recommends a daily practice for continual improvement.
All leadership is built on this foundation.
Adapted from Inner Leadership.