Recently, one of my friends was going through a very challenging situation, full of tough business and people changes. As we talked about how she was handling the challenges, she said that the most important thing her boss said to her was “Be yourself!” The message confirmed a strong vote of confidence in her and a trust that she would find her own way into effectiveness. To be clear, her boss is very different from my friend. In a way, she was saying, “Don’t try to be like me or anyone else.” So, the message was quite powerful. And, my friend has found a very successful path.

I have been recalling that conversation over the last month because so much of my work is to help people shift their views and ways of operating. Do I encourage people to be who they are? Yes, I do, but with one caveat—sometimes a change or new approach is needed.

When your most natural, comfortable “self” is at risk of failing to get your desired outcome, you can choose to:

  1. Adapt a strength or new ability.
  2. Restrain a way of thinking or acting.
  3. Re-invent a part of your “self.”

Some situations require us to be more intentional than natural. Knowing when to flow with our well-honed way of being and when to take a step back and reconsider our approach is an essential part of leadership.

Most importantly, make sure any changes are consistent with who you are or want to be.

What situations are in front of you for which you can soar with your most natural Self? Which ones might require a modified, new or (at least) intentional approach? Do you encourage your staff to “be their best self?”