The eighth principle of Advanced Change Theory (ACT) is inspire others to enact their best self. While we always maintain reverence for those involved in change, as we push action toward the edge of chaos in pursuit of our vision for the common good, we have to ask our followers for “stretch efforts.”
In asking for “stretch efforts,” the leader continually models the courage, integrity, competence and concern expected of followers. In this way, mutuality is created between the leader and the follower. (p. 8 )
Because we expect the highest standards from our people, as leaders we have to serve as role models for high standards. If we are really stretching, there will always be a gap between where we are and what we are trying to become. Those gaps take time to close, and they make us uncomfortable because they reveal our vulnerabilities. As a leader, you can find strength in vulnerability if you can learn to live with the creative tension that exists in the gap between where you are and where you need to be.
Don’t surrender to the expediency of pulling the vision down to your current level of competence. Model the way in allowing the vision to pull you forward. Your folks need to see you struggling with imperfection in your pursuit of transformational learning. Only then will they know for sure it is safe for them to do the same.
None of us can ever become our best self unless and until we confront our imperfect self. Model the way for your folks in this continual process of transformation and improvement.