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Effective Leadership Revealed As Service, Empathy and Humility

I often invoke the phrase, "permanent beta" when working with leaders and their organizations. My interpretation of this phrase is best summarized as, "always learning, never done." Practically, this encouragement to leaders and organizations for adopting this mindset should manifest in rethinking current paradigms, questioning our biases, coveting others' perspectives, and, for goodness's sakes, don't be a Knower when you can be a Learner! It also pays to be a learner. We know now that this learning posture leads to improved organizational achievement and better, healthier workplaces.


Sometimes the universe gives you very real crucibles within which to learn and very real examples of permanent beta leadership in action. The last few years are ripe with examples of where something new is created out of moments of severe trial (the crucible) and where leaders demonstrated that we can always learn and rise to the occasion if we are willing to be bold, critical thinkers. Adam Grant recently wrote of Volodymyr Zelensky's leadership in an Inc. article, "Charisma attracts attention. Courage earns admiration. But commitment to a group is what inspires loyalty. We follow the leaders who fight for us--and we make sacrifices for the leaders who serve us."


Reflection on Grant's analysis causes me to wonder if I am serving enough, caring enough, humble enough. These are hard and important questions to ask if you wish to keep learning and growing into a better version of yourself. Permanent beta mindset requires such introspection. I want to keep pushing myself to be a more humble, empathetic and servant leader; not only for my teams but for myself in my journey to be a better human being.

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