Ouch! Where in the high heaven did that pain come from? I had just bent over to pick up a book from a low shelf. The sharp pain in my back felt like I’d been skewered.

There is one behavior that I have neglected over the last couple of months. My fitness has taken a back seat. It has been a season of major content development. Inadvertently, I have traded a useful habit for a sedentary one. My body feels bloated and sluggish. It had developed a character of its own.

It did not matter how flat I lay, the pain persisted. I tried a hot pack and muscle relaxant to no avail. Nothing worked but some strong pain medication. The following morning, I started off with gentle stretches. I then graduated back to walking and a little biking.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The change was first evident in my mind. I felt more alert and energetic. The sluggishness in my body began to lift. And the pain gradually eased off.

Just like my fitness, leadership is a journey, not an event. We can easily fall prey to think that irregular sessions of intense leadership training are the solution. Leadership is alike a habit. It grows slowly and takes regular and consistent work. And in the end, it is your character that helps your leadership to shine through.

It begins with a decision to be the difference. When we decide to improve our character, then we begin to move into authentic leadership. “Decisions lead to habits, and habits (over time) lead to character,” says Michael Hyatt. Our character, then, determines our reputation. As Plato said, “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”

And this brings us to the 7 behavior types that shape your ability to lead.

  1. Believable – Your actions resonate with truth, are dependable and provide people with a confidant. This is behavior that says “You can count on me”.
  2. Empathetic – If you want to connect with people in an authentic way, you must have empathy. It is putting yourself in their shoes.
  3. Honesty – This is beyond doing the right things. It means that you are morally correct. You uphold incorruptible values.
  4. Visionary – Inspired, inventive, insightful, and ingenious. Not only do you exhibit innovation, you’re enterprising spirit builds others too.
  5. Integrity – This behavior is closely linked to honesty. But you are of a noble mind, driven by virtue, fairness and sincerity.
  6. Orderly – To be a leader is to be well-organized. You , efficient, businesslike, methodical, systematic, careful, meticulous, punctilious; coherent, structured, logical, well planned, well-regulated, systematized…”
  7. Relational – If you think you are a leader, and have no followers, you are just taking a walk. A leader is has to connect to others in a meaningful way.

Source: 7 Behaviors That Shape A Leader

About Kimunya Mugo

I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 15 years. Trained as a scientist (horticulture), I have always loved leadership and communication. However, it was not a direct transition. I was kind of ‘pushed’ into it when my first boss put me in charge of developing my first website back in 1999 (by the way, I had no clue how to do it!). In a month, it was up and running.

My last day job was as Regional Director for Communication & Branding of WWF in eastern and southern Africa. This was by far the toughest position I had ever held. But through it, I learned the most valuable lessons in leadership, working with teams spread over six countries. Before that, I worked in a variety of roles for three other organizations (see full profile).

I have also been a coach of some very critical leaders in society, parents! Since 2007, my wife and I have coached hundreds to become better leaders at home.

I am married to my best friend Harriette since 2004. We have three children and make our home in Nairobi, Kenya.

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