Effective leadership flows from inside out

Here’s a thought-provoking piece from Brian Bacon, Chairman & Founder of the Oxford Leadership Academy:

Performance is external. Fulfilment is internal. Performance comes from achievement of something beyond yourself, whilst fulfilment emerges and grows from within – when your achievements are congruent with a consciously held purpose and the values that you choose to define your character.

Performance requires rules and discipline to control some ‘part’ of your life. Fulfilment is the freedom to choose your response without any manipulation.

Performance is to prove something. It requires finite measurement. Without proof, there would be no performance. Fulfilment means you don’t need to prove anything. Fulfilment is endless and immeasurable. It flows from a sense of completeness. When your whole life environment feels fully integrated, you don’t need more of anything.

Performance requires you to consume something – resources, time, your skills or energy. In order to achieve a certain performance you have to spend something. Fulfilment doesn’t need anything. It creates something good out of your current state and situation, whatever that is. It is never expensive. It gives you something instead of taking something away.

Effective leadership flows from inside out, not from outside in. Effective leaders integrate performance and fulfilment, not choose between them. Success in business requires high performance. Success in life requires a sense of fulfilment.

In leadership, you need both together.

Thanks to Brian for these thoughts. What’s your take on this? We’d love to hear from you.