Leadership is like soup– if you want it to taste good, nourish people, comfort and inspire then you have to consider all of the ingredients that go into making a great leader and encourage the conditions that best enable one to simmer to their fullest potential. So many leadership books and development programs talk only of skills-or competencies- and suggest that if one adopts, models or mimics the skills they will master the art of leadership.
This thinking is akin to believing that if you follow a recipe you will become a master chef and that simply isn’t true. Great chefs are dedicated to the cause of making great food. They make a point of considering every input- every ingredient that goes in, as well as their own creative influence upon the ingredients- the stirring, the dialing up or down of heat, cookware, altitude, seasonal availability, etc. So if leadership is a grand soup then what should go into the pot?
LEARNING- What a person has learned in the past and continues to learn for the future informs their world view and priorities. Ensure what you are learning is expansive enough to accommodate your highest aspirations. To remain creative make sure to include the pursuit of knowledge that is seemingly unrelated and enjoy the synergy that comes through diversity.
ENERGY-When a person eats well they have the stamina to meet demands. If you are what you eat, then what would your eating habits be saying about you as a person and leader- healthy food choices reveal an important aspect of ones character and commitment to the planet. Choose organic, limit processed food and eliminate excessive sugar, salt and sodas.
ATTITUDE- Thoughts about the world, other people, and ourselves conspire to produce character. Meditate on these words by the Dalai Lama.
Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life…
DREAMS- A leaders vision for the future is essential to her/his work and impact on others. What are your ideas, hopes, fears, beliefs, and aspirations and how are they informing your dreams for the future?
EXPERIENCE- What life experiences are informing your character, skills, and beliefs as a leader. Are past experiences getting in the way of future aspirations? Are new and upcoming experiences feeding your soul and mind in compelling and inspiring ways?
RELATIONSHIPS- Who do you love? Who do you hang out with? How do you nurture family and friends? As you are in your personal life, so you are in your professional life. Review the pleasure and inspiration that comes from your relationships with others. If there are improvements to be made- make them and let go of relationships if they are knowingly toxic. Heck you wouldn’t put poison in your soup would you?
SYSTEMS VIEW- What are you doing to expand your world view? As we seek to understand life beyond our front gate, beyond our borders, and beyond the familiar, we gain greater awareness of the vastness of the human condition and are better able to appreciate the diversity of people- There are many ways to make soup.
HEALTH- Should leadership cost us our health? Do you want to follow someone who cant seem to take care of themselves in a mindful way? Ensure you attend to the freshness of your own leadership ingredients by making healthy choices, getting sufficient rest, exercising, designing healthy working environments, and dealing with health problems promptly, and attending to your mental and physical health on an ongoing basis.
IDEOLOGY-How does ideology influence your presence as a leader? Are your thoughts and beliefs well founded and mindfully managed to limit harm or judgment of others?
PRESS (Media- What are you reading and consuming in the way of media- what TV shows are you watching, what newscasts do you favour, what propaganda are you succumbing to? What magazines do you read? How do you seek a wider perspective?