Magazine article Workforce

Leadership from the Inside Out

Magazine article Workforce

Leadership from the Inside Out

Article excerpt


Kevin Cashman


Chief Executive Officer Company.



Minneapolis, Minnesota Business: A leadership and executive coaching firm


A bachelor's degree in psychology from St. John's University

Leadership style synopsis: Authentic self-expression creates value.

Kevin Cashman is founder and CEO of LeaderSource, an international leadership and executive coaching firm. Cashman spent the last 20 years advising such companies as Pillsbury, Warner-Lambert, 3M, Coca-Cola and the US. Defense Department. Last year he authored "Leadership From the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life " (Executive Excellence Publishing, 1998), a book that details how personal growth and authenticity create a more thoughful leader He argues that leadership is "authentic self-expression that creates value."

What does "leadership from the inside out" really mean?

Too often we define leaders by their achievements, instead of by who they are and what they bring to further the achievements of others. Leadership from the inside out means to show up to work as a whole person-with your strengths, vulnerabilities and career history And then to use those attributes to enhance your contribution to the company and those of others to create value.

What's the link between growing as a leader and growing as a person?

Our whole educational system is built around giving people MBAs so they can learn about business, but not about themselves and how to work with other people. It's equally important to understand ourselves because it enhances our self-knowledge and interpersonal effectiveness. Once you move into a leadership role, you can no longer just get by on your expertise. It's a matter of how you inspire others, connect with others, lead others to create value. That comes out of an understanding of yourself and your relationship with others. The more self-aware you are, the more effective your leadership skills.

What separates authentic leaders from the pack?

Authentic leaders tend to be more open, not only to their own strengths, but also to their vulnerabilities. When they're open to others, they're more credible and trustworthy

In your book you talk about "integrated pathways" to the mastery of leadership from within. On which pathway should most human resources managers focus?

We conducted a survey and found that most people think the more relevant pathways for a leader are interpersonal mastery and personal mastery Interpersonal mastery is when we assert who we are, and open up the possibilities for others. Personal mastery is about comprehending our strengths and vulnerabilities, and how they impact our performance as leaders. Of course, the most challenging of these pathways is balance: How do you balance personal and professional life in the midst of change, stress and pressure? How do you find the balance?

I don't listen to the kind of prescription version of balance-that if we only work 50 hours a week, exercise three times a week and stick to a low-fat diet we'd have balance. So many people who do exactly that are still miserable. The most important balance point is to align yourself with your values. People who are most resilient and have the most energy are usually the ones who are aligned with their values. First they know who they are and what they want, and their time and resources tend to line up with those values. …

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