Like most people, you play a number of roles. You act differently when you’re out on the town partying with your best friends than you do when you’re coaching an employee or when you’re helping your children with their homework. Playing a variety of roles is not only normal and healthy, it’s also absolutely necessary.
“The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” by Erving Goffman compares the roles we play the way a dramaturgist analyzes characters in plays. Wikipedia provides a crisp and clear summary of Goffman’s ideas at The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.
From Goffman, I take away that you can and do control how you present yourself. For example, when you meet someone, you try to control the impression you make. Meanwhile, you realize that the other person is doing the same thing. At the same time, both of you are assessing each other.
Like actors in a movie or play, people take on roles in order to achieve results in much the same way actors attempt to portray characters. Playing a role does not detract from your authenticity. Rather, roles help you get where you want to go. They keep you from expressing your true political views, for example, while pitching business to a group of prospects you know hold the opposite views.
Let the philosophers debate whether you invent or discover your authentic self. For leaders the important question becomes, What’s the most effective role to play as a leader in your organization?
Before you can answer, you have to discover as accurately as possible how you and your leaders act right now. Only then you can compare your current performance to the way great leaders behave. Armed with this data, then, you can direct yourself and your teams toward the most effective way to lead.
To help our clients understand and negotiate this complex process, we have identified six Attraction Powers and 12 Repellent Forces that either attract or repel others. Our Leadership Attraction Profile, identifies the way you use, underuse, or overuse each of your Attraction Powers.
Any leadership development effort to improve individual leaders, teams, or organizations must begin with objective and accurate assessments. Sadly, many leaders do not understand or take ownership for how their behavior affects others across the organization, their team and, therefore, their ability to lead.
You can get an idea of how a full-fledged Leadership Attraction Profile works by taking a simplified version, or Mini Leadership Attraction Profile.
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