As I work with leaders, we discuss leadership based on best practices such as influence, vision, empowerment, and accountability. These are the measurable fundamentals of leadership that most leaders possess to varying degrees. By developing these external skills, one would indeed become a better leader. However, what if the leadership development journey began by connecting those external leadership skills to what one thinks and feels on the inside. Would this internal connection enhance one’s leadership development?

I think so, and over the next three issues, we will discuss inner driven leadership and how connecting external leadership skills to one’s core can enrich the leadership experience. Each article will cover one of the three competencies necessary to achieve inner driven leadership: personal, social, and behavioral competence.

Let’s start by discussing the root of inner driven leadership—personal competence. Personal competence embraces the discovery of our core values, personal mission statement, and authenticity. This awareness sets the foundation for inner driven leadership and embodies who we are as individuals.

Our core values define who we are and guide our decisions and behavior. So, what are your core values? Have you ever taken the time to think about what is really at the center of your core? Today we will do just that. Write down all the values you hold dear.

For example, a few core values leaders typically name include trust, integrity, service, prosperity, risk, security, family, diversity, dependability, courage, power, loyalty, harmony, success, teamwork, and humor. Do not be limited by these as there are many more. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Write down the values most important to you. If you are struggling with this, email me at info@TopPerformanceResults. com for a list.

When complete, narrow this list down to your top ten core values. Once again, narrow your list further until you have only five. These are the top five core values that define who you are. Does your leadership style incorporate your top five? If not, to achieve true inner driven leadership, try to blend them into your current leadership style.

Now, let’s think about your personal mission statement. This is a brief statement that clarifies your purpose and identifies what is important to you. You are a reflection of your personal mission. This type of clarity can have a profound effect on your leadership development. Let us now create a personal mission statement. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

• Who am I?

• What do I want to do?

• Who do I want to help?

• How will I help them?

• How will it benefit the world?

Take a few moments to reflect before you begin to answer the questions. Here is a simple example to illustrate what your personal mission statement may look like:

Who am I? ……………………………..Jane Doe

What do I want to do? ………………Prevent experimental testing on animals

Who do I want to help? ……………Animals

How will I help them? ……………..Send signed petitions to Congress

How will it benefit the world? ….Cruelty to animals will cease to exist

Are you surprised by what you wrote? Did you learn anything about yourself? Are you incorporating your personal mission statement into your leadership style to achieve inner driven leadership? If not, think about doing so.

The last of the personal competencies is authenticity. Leaders who are authentic are self-aware and align their core values and their personal mission. This alignment allows for a unified leadership style. For example, let us say one of your core values is honesty, a very common core value. While at work, your boss tells you to lie and change some of the numbers on an accounting report to show a loss less than reality. This situation would probably distress you. Why? Because this goes against one of your fundamental core values, honesty.

To achieve authenticity, your core values and personal mission must be in alignment. So, the question is—Are your core values, personal mission statement, and leadership style in alignment? If not, determine what is out of sync and try to realign them. Inner driven leadership is truly effective when in complete alignment with who you are and what you seek.

Today we took the first steps toward becoming inner driven leaders. We did so by recognizing our top five core values, which gave us insight into understanding who we are. Next, we developed our personal mission statement, which guided us toward recognizing our purpose. And, last, we have hopefully achieved authenticity by aligning our core values with our personal mission. Take time now to reflect on what you have discovered and try to blend this insight with your current leadership style.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the first of a three-part series about inner driven leadership. My next article will discuss the second competency of inner driven leadership: social competency. Here we will discuss communication and its impact on leadership. In addition, we will talk about teamwork and mentorship. Many leaders I work with believe they are mentoring when they are actually not! Could you be one of those leaders? Find out in the second part of the series. You do not want to miss it!

Diane Lazarowicz is an award-winning executive coach and communication and leadership expert who helps women trust their inner voice to achieve their goals through the delivery of strong communication and leadership. She has over thirty-five years of professional business experience. In addition, Lazarowicz serves on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Airport Chamber of Commerce and is co-chair of the Membership Committee. She is also a volunteer and advocate of the Choices youth program.