Leading from the Outside In or from the Inside Out?

MSEC’s Executive Leadership Program has helped over 100 leaders develop their leadership skills and abilities since 2004. However, the program may include things that many wouldn’t expect from a leadership development program. The program is built on a three-pronged approach, simply put, the “I-WE-IT Model.” The program recognizes that leaders must act as long-term stewards of the organization’s (IT) best interest, and that leaders are only as successful as the people they are motivating and developing to achieve results (WE).

What makes the Executive Leadership Program unique in the world of leadership development is perhaps its personal mastery component (I) where participants take an in-depth look at themselves to gain awareness of what drives their leadership. Kevin Cashman in Leadership from the Inside Out describes the best leaders as being driven from the “inside out rather than from the outside in.” This means that they are operating from a place of character, strongly held values, courage, and purpose rather than from approval, image, fear, and force.

Program participants explore when and how they lead from the “inside out” which is essentially leading from authentic self. Although leaders will always have some concern for “persona” (i.e., image and approval), the goal is to increase the amount of time that the authentic self is driving the ship.

Bill George, author of True North and Authentic Leadership weighs in on the subject by recapping that hundreds of leadership studies have not unearthed the “perfect leader” profile. However, the results have shown that what great leaders have in common is clarity about who they are and what life experiences have shaped them into the leaders they are now. Program participants also engage in some archeology of their own to find the source of their leading. Bill George says that people want to know who they are following so leaders need to share what who they truly are, what experiences have shaped their leading, and what values they hold as non-negotiable.

A third exploration for participants in personal mastery is an in-depth look at their own values, and if and how those values are alive in their leading. They are then asked to share some of their discoveries with those they lead. Participants often say that personal mastery is the part of the program that is newest to them and most impactful.

Our learning throughout the program is supported by a blended approach of one-on-one coaching, and a yearlong workplace project where participants can apply their new learning. If you are interested, please contact us at 800.884.1328 or email registration@msec.org.