From the context of raising up leaders through training and discipleship, it can be challenging to encounter a leader who has not found their own voice, while at the same time very rewarding when that voice is discovered. Leaders who have not found their voice are individuals who have not found themselves. For many, understanding oneself is a conundrum that takes a lifetime to uncover (Vaden, 2011, p. 54), and many shy away from the endeavor since it is not a quick endeavor. There are many personality profiles, gift tests, and other measurement for self-discovery, but they don’t quite help in the efforts to find the voice of leadership. These tests don’t necessarily tell an individual what is cared about, what is defining and what makes an individual who they are (Kouzes, 2012, p. 45).
In training leaders to find their voice of leadership, it is this area of self-discovery that seems most beneficial to focus on, particularly learning to operate out of one’s true self, or real and genuine self (St. Clair, 2004). An individual operates out of their true self when they feel the freedom from hindrances and fear, which lead to compliance of the environment’s demands (Vaden, 2011, p. 55). It is in safe environments free of fear that an individual can understand and express their true self, which is where self discovery can happen and open the door to finding their leadership voice (Vaden. 2011, p. 55). This is why creating a safe environment where it is safe to fail is so vital, allowing individuals to discover themselves through trial and error without fear of rejection. Once one’s leadership voice is discovered, leadership becomes far more effective and clear as the leader operates out of confidence expressing ideas, choosing direction, making tough decisions, acting with determination, taking charge of their own lives (Kouzes, 2012, p. 47)
Kouzes, J. M. (2012). The leadership challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
St. Clair, M. (2004). Object relations and self psychology: an introduction (4th ed.). Australia ; Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.
Vaden, M. B. (2011). Discovering the True Self: Thomas Merton and Contemplation. Edification: The Transdisciplinary Journal of Christian Psychology, 5(1), 54–60.