Two weeks ago was the 30 Year Anniversary of my Father-in-law getting tragically killed in a bicycle accident. He was 3 months from retirement. This event had a significant impact on my life and leadership, as I learned first hand that life is fragile.

It taught me to:

  • Keep my priorities straight – Family events and relationships are more important than anything going on at work
  • Always keep things in perspective – Most things are not life or death situations
  • Cherish every moment God provides me on this earth and use those moments to be intentional about adding value to people

Everyone has past events, circumstances, and people in their life that shape their leadership style. This untimely death moved me to push people to never miss their kids’ events and always prioritize their family and friends. They knew why, as I had shared my personal experience with them as part of my Leadership Portrait.

Do the people within your sphere of influence know and understand your past and what has brought you to this point? I have found that sharing your Leadership Portrait is an extremely powerful tool for a leader to build relationships and enhance their influence. Servant leaders are transparent!

A Leadership Portrait consists of:

  • Those events and people that have impacted you and your life
  • Your personal purpose
  • Your personal values
  • Your outlook on leadership

Taking the time to build this Portrait for yourself will enable you to:

  • Verbalize what is important to you, and why it is important
  • Deepen your resolve towards living a life of meaning as you live within your declared beliefs
  • Bring people into closer relationship with you, as they understand you better. It will lead to high performance in all aspects of your life.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a number of people share their Leadership Portrait to a group of peers within their organization. It never ceases to amaze me at the power of this process. People that had worked together for 25+ years found out things that they had never known. You could feel the closeness of the relationships in the room build as each shared their Portrait. This high performing organization got even stronger as they were intentional about this process.

So I challenge you today, if you have not already done so, take some time and write out your Leadership Portrait. Then share it with someone this week! Allow it to be a normal part of your conversations. Then listen to others’ Portraits, and learn about them. Your life will be richer for it!

Mark Deterding

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25