Get real. What defines you, really?

How would the people in your life describe you and what drives you? How would your colleagues at work and clients describe working with you?

How consistent are the answers?

Change is inevitable. Think about the technology and environment that frame our day-to-day life.

How many of us have a camera, a day planner or even a landline that is not VoIP-ready? We have smartphones that have more computing power than the lunar landing module.

How then do we remain consistent, authentic, effective in this new world? One theory you’ve likely heard of is “situational leadership”—a brilliant concept by management authority Ken Blanchard that has been (mis-)used as a concept by many. In short, we use different leadership methods in different situations with different people.

With this mindset, are we then inconsistent and unpredictable? Most people seek consistent and reliable responses from their leaders. They want to be able to present ideas, issues and solutions knowing what their leaders generally seek as ways to communicate, decide and execute. So, sometimes as the parameters of a situation are not as clear as we’d like, and adaptive leadership styles might lead to confusion and disappointment.

Our core values and beliefs are shaped over time—sometimes with great thought and effort. Sharing them is part of our way of working and being. Sometimes, they are defined by simply being and doing—never codifying them for ourselves, our colleagues or our businesses.

Yet, things do change. Our roles change. The people we work with change. How can we operate from the same core values throughout our experiences, careers or lives?

Here’s how:

We get to define daily who we are and what’s important to us. We can operate from fairness, merit, growth, stability, honesty, transparency, preparedness, confidentiality … or any other concepts that move your needle of values and what you bring to relationships at business or home.

You can change your behavior to adapt to a situation. You can learn and grow from your experiences and education. At your core, be real. Bring your authentic self to every encounter that matters to you. Your authentic self will shine, regardless of your situation. ♦

Stephen Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or [email protected].

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