Becoming a Trusted, Authentic Leader

October 4, 2021 David Witt

Over the course of his 28-year professional career, Scott Blanchard was known in his organization as both a “key innovator” and a “chief disruption officer,” depending on who you talked to. As a result, people were understandably cautious when Scott took on the role of company president just before COVID-19 turned the L&D world—and the company—upside down.

In an all-hands meeting immediately following the announcement of his promotion, Blanchard decided to share his leadership point of view with the company. For people who didn’t really know him yet, it was a way to introduce himself. For those who knew him well, it was a way to share more deeply the people and events that influenced his leadership style as well as the values that would guide his journey as president.

“I talked about my need for forthrightness,” said Blanchard. “If I see something, I'm going to talk about it. In the past, that may have come across as bluntness or callousness, but it really is a need I have.

“Next, I talked about mastery. I don't like inefficiency. I don't like friction in the way things work. I don't want to compromise on proficiency—and I feel like if you're not getting better, you're getting worse.

“Then I talked about kindness, which is a core value for me. It is not something that comes naturally to me because of impatience and forthrightness, but it is a learned behavior that I value as a discipline.

“Finally, I talked about self-determination and my deeply held belief that we create our own destiny. Even in a situation where our destiny seems predetermined, we can still choose the way we feel and think about it.”

Blanchard acknowledges that when he shared his leadership point of view, it wasn’t a soft and fuzzy presentation—it was real and authentic. People throughout the company responded positively.

“I think people’s positive reactions were because they understood where I was coming from. That’s what sharing your leadership point of view does—it helps people understand what's valuable to you and where it comes from. As a result, people know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.

“It doesn't change who you are, but it can change people's understanding and interpretation of who they thought you were. I remember when I was part of a coaching initiative and one of our clients was a senior executive at one of the world’s largest consulting firms. He was big, strong guy physically and he was also the smartest person in the room. He was intimidating and people were scared of him.  

“When he shared his leadership point of view, he talked about where he had come from, how he had become who he was, and how he struggled with a lot of issues others didn't see. Now his people could begin to see what drove his decisiveness and his sharpness.

“Authentically sharing your leadership point of view disarms people because they begin to understand your history and that you are a human being with a story, just like anybody else.

“Nobody gets to where they are without being influenced by their family, by significant events, by other important people, and by their life experiences. And while it doesn’t mean that people will necessarily like you, sharing your leadership point of view always helps people understand where you're coming from—and they're not in such a hurry to evaluate you.”

In recommending that leaders in other organizations explore how sharing their leadership point of view can build trust, caring, and understanding in an organization, Blanchard points to the importance of working with someone who is familiar with the process.

“I worked with a coach. We talked about the process, which involves identifying experiences that were meaningful in your life. Who were the important people that influenced you, and what did you learn from them that you either want to emulate or that you want to avoid? People influence us in one way or the other.

“Next, what beliefs have you developed about leadership and what it means to be a good leader? What do you expect from people and what can people expect from you?

“A coach enables you to share your story by creating a space for you to think about those influencers and experiences. And then they help you choose the language you want to use and select the right stories, in the right level of detail and the right length, so your presentation doesn’t turn into an endless, navel-gazing soliloquy.”

For leaders unsure about sharing who they are authentically and what their influences are, Blanchard offers words of encouragement.

“There is a really strong body of research that shows you can't actually lead without bringing yourself to the moment of leadership. You can't lead without bringing yourself, as a person, into the picture. It sounds a little obvious, but we use ourselves as instruments of leadership. And so to the degree that you can help people to know who you are and how you got to be who you are, you can influence the way they perceive you as a human being.

“The leadership point of view process enables people to tangibly see and understand you as a leader. We all know that nature—including human nature—hates a void. In the absence of information, people will make stuff up that will invariably be wrong.  And many leaders are trying to lead but struggling against false narratives they aren’t even aware of.

“People need to know who they are working with. When a leader takes the time to authentically and earnestly share their leadership point of view, it always delivers insights for both the leader and the people they lead. As one coaching client recently said, ‘this process is like a rebirth—an opportunity to own my story in a whole new, powerful way.’

“We are always encouraged to walk a mile in another’s shoes to manage judgment that might be an obstacle to trust. But there are precious few good methods to do that. The leadership point of view process gives everyone an opportunity to walk in their leader’s shoes—to understand their world view in an unforgettable way.”

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Would you like to learn more about the leadership point of view process? Join us for a free webinar!

Creating and Sharing Your Leadership Point of View

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time

In this webinar, Scott Blanchard, president of The Ken Blanchard Companies, walks you through the process of creating and delivering your leadership point of view. Scott will share a 3-step process:

  • Choosing a Coach—what to look for when selecting someone to help you identify the important people and life experiences to include in your final presentation.
  • Exploring the Content—the key components to include in your talk. Scott will share some key content pieces from Blanchard’s new Leadership Point of View guided experience.
  • Understanding the Process—a look at the entire process from beginning to end. You’ll learn how to get started, what to expect along the way, and how to prepare for the final presentation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to create strong, authentic, lasting bonds of trust between leaders and the people they are entrusted with in your organization. Leadership Point of View is an exciting new opportunity to create a genuine, trust-filled culture in your organization. Learn more.

Register today!

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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