You don’t need another leadership framework: Break free from the cookie-cutter mindset!

Yolanda Yu

For some, leadership development means learning leadership frameworks and models. While experts’ insights can be valuable, acquiring more frameworks should never be your primary focus in Career Coaching & Leadership Coaching development.

Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom:-

“Learning is about acquiring knowledge” is a mindset we inherit from previous generations. We all know that Knowledge has become excessive and commoditized. What we need today is the wisdom to apply principles in real-world scenarios. And true wisdom comes from deep understanding.

And learning is a process of “knowing – understanding – deepening understanding.” 

Leadership is an art:-

Imagine a group of artists is given the same model to paint, yet each artist interprets what they see in unique ways. One artist may use vibrant colors to evoke emotions, while another may focus on intricate details. Their final work can be starkly different, showcasing distinct individual styles, perspectives, and creativity.

Similarly, martial arts practitioners may learn from the same Kung Fu script and the same master. However, depending on their individual characteristics, each disciple likely performs the same movements in their style and power.  

Leadership, too, is a personal journey, not a cookie-cutter mold. No two leaders or their approaches are identical. so, how can you develop your leadership effectively?

Prioritize understanding over knowing:-

Whether you are a newly minted leader or a seasoned one, the chances are, you know enough about leadership theories. Work on deepening your understanding. For example, you surely have heard of empathy, emotional regulation, adaptability, influence, etc. What is your understanding of these concepts? How many of them remain theories in your head, and how much have they translated into wisdom and principles that you can act upon?  

Practice deliberately through reflection:-

Merely practicing is not enough to advance. Without correction, you can spend years using ineffective techniques. Allocate time for introspection and reflect on your experiences, decisions, and challenges. What principles did you go against? What principles do you have yet to embrace fully? Seek mentorship or coaching to gain fresh perspectives and overcome limitations.

Be self-aware, not self-criticize:-

Instead of labeling yourself as “bad at listening” or “unable to make decisions,” learn more about yourself. These behavior patterns might arise from a need to be right, a value placed on efficiency, or a preference for keeping options open. Such awareness and understanding help you to be more intentional when responding to situations instead of reacting with muscle reflexes.

But don’t label your traits as strengths or weaknesses. Most likely, a “weakness” is a strength overused or unsuitable in the current context. Self-judgment is one of the most sabotaging things and a big barrier to personal executive coaching development. Direct your energy towards learning about the situation. Don’t drain it with “I am a terrible leader.”

In summary:-

Break free from the constraints of traditional leadership development. Embrace the artistry of leadership and prioritize deep understanding over mere knowledge.

Reflect, practice deliberately, and cultivate self-awareness. Let go of self-judgment and embrace your unique style.

Remember, leadership is not about conforming to predefined frameworks; it’s about embracing your individuality and becoming the Kung Fu master of your leadership journey.


portrait_Yolanda Yu_YL_r

Yolanda Yu

  • 𝗣𝗖𝗖 ICF Certified Executive Coach
  • 𝗣𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲ᵀᴹ Career Coach
  • Ex-Visa Ex-Alibaba business leader
  • 🐧Penguin Author
  • Ex-Headhunter