Leading On the Edge
Dr. Joelle K. Jay is an expert in personal leadership. She has coached executives in numerous companies, written several books and numerous articles, and is a principle with the Leadership Research Institute, a global leadership development firm.
Reading Dr. Jay’s new book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, I felt like I had hired a personal leadership coach. She shares practices and principles that are enduring. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to introduce her thinking to you.
What does it mean to lead on the edge?
“Leading on the edge” is about challenging ourselves to take the leadership position in our own lives – pushing ourselves not to sit back and hope for things to happen but getting out in front and making them happen with our own intent and effort.
What are some of the benefits of mastering personal leadership?
I believe that everyone is a leader – if not the leader of a team or a company, at the very least the leader of his or her own life. Strong companies have learned that better leadership equals better results – higher profits, bigger market share and a global advantage. Personal leadership helps us get the results we want for ourselves – a more fulfilling career, a more rewarding experience, a happier life.
Your book outlines ten practices of personal leadership. Let’s discuss a few of them. The first is “get clarity.” How do you help leaders understand who they are and where they want to go?
I recently heard a speaker say, “Clarity is everything. Confusion is the enemy.” In our fractured and distracted world, leaders need to learn to cut through the noise to hear their own voice. They do this by asking themselves powerful questions – chief among them, “What do I want?” When leaders can get clear about what they want, they can outline the steps to get there.
Tap Into Your Brilliance
I love “Tap into your brilliance” because I am often amazed at people’s strengths. How does a leader encourage an environment where everyone is operating in the strong zone?
When leaders learn to leverage their strengths, they positively burst into action. Suddenly their efforts are infused with energy as they discover they can finally do things their way – the way that comes naturally to them and the way they do them best. That has a contagious quality, so strengths-based leaders are naturally encouraged by their own successes to help the people around them – their managers, direct reports, their teams – to organize their activities around the strengths in the group. It’s a more satisfying experience for everyone – but more than that, it’s also far more effective.
“See possibility” is another practice. One technique you call is “Let it be easy.” Would you elaborate on this practice for us?