My education in journalism created an awareness of the impact of a good headline and its ability to draw readership. If you have an interest in growing your savings accounts, I may have captured your interest. But this perspective has nothing to do with money- and everything to do with your greatest asset- yourself.
I’m an advocate of an entirely new acronym, which came to mind during a recent leadership discussion: R.O.Y. It stands for “Return on You.” Though it’s phonetically similar to the R.O.I we’re all familiar with in the business world, the focus is completely different. R.O.Y. is all about a lifelong investment in your own self-management and leadership growth and development which evolves from having such a focus. The bottom line is that you are the greatest asset in your life.
There are a couple of caveats to consider: First, there are many different (and acceptable) notions about what leadership really means. And second, how that leadership manifests itself. To many, great leadership is about getting results, winning competitions, or achieving ambitious individual, team, or organizational goals.
For others, leadership is more related to maintaining a dedicated focus on the development of others, leaving a legacy and modeling behaviors which influence transformative change within individuals and organizations. There’s room for both interpretations, but I believe that a commitment to achieve goals which are enduring and meaningful is much more related to the second definition of leadership. Impactful leadership requires a constant focus on investing in your own awareness, understanding and application of ideas, and behaviors which influence others.
R.O.Y. is the humble (and sometimes harsh) acceptance that your ability to grow and develop as a person precedes your capability to influence growth within others. This truth is reflected in many leadership texts and in some of the most common sayings we use in life and in work, such as “People are too busy watching how you behave, to pay attention to what you’re saying.”
In my leadership consulting and coaching work, I make a conscious effort to draw people’s attention to the fact that there is a “line of sight” connection to our thoughts, attitudes, language, and behavior. In that vein, leaders must be keenly aware of the link between what they say, how it’s conveyed, and the behavior that either supports, or insubordinates their stated intentions.
R.O.Y. is a subject that lends itself to a broad and fertile dialogue about how leaders must invest time, focus, energy, and reflection into the one person in the universe they can control. It requires both mindfulness and presence. And similar to meditation, yoga, or many of the mind-body disciplines, it requires the ability to create enough quietness in our lives to find- and listen to- our own voice.
Author Kevin Cashman accurately notes that we are trained and conditioned to continually learn about and too often judge the world around us, but woefully inadequate at exploring ourselves and how we show up as authentic human beings. The ability to build a meaningful leadership reserve, so that you may share it with others, begins with a focus on your own bottom line.