I think it was 1967 and I'm pretty sure it was January (but then it might have been June).
It was a weekend afternoon. Me and my friends from our street were playing on the local building site. One of our favourite weekend pastimes.
Then one of our parents came over and shouted out "You've got five more minutes until they're on".
We pelted home just as fast as our young legs would carry us. Jumped on the sofa and starred at 'the box'.....and then they appeared in glorious back and white.
Their theme tune came blasting out....
Here we come, walkin'
Down the street.
We get the funniest looks from
Ev'ry one we meet.
Hey, hey, we're the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we're too busy singing
To put anybody down.
We go wherever we....
It was fantastic..the very first episode of.....The Monkees.
We watched every episode and today I can still recite (should I admit this publicly?) ever word of their theme tune!
It was this and my many other childhood experience that moulded me.
These experiences & influences encompassed everything from how as a family we communicated with each other; how we expressed (or didn't express) our emotions; learned response mechanisms; the role of our parents as care givers and their relationship; the relationships (the good and the could be much better) relationships in our wider 'family ecosystem', the influence of teachers; sibling birth order; significant events in early life..and so on.
And it is these experiences that are today moulding my seven year old daughter.
And it is your early life experiences that moulded you and shaped your leadership style.
As the saying goes:
"Scratch a man or woman and you will find a child."
This doesn't mean we can't change as adults, however by the age of thirty a considerable part of our personality has been created.
Understanding your early life experiences and how they moulded you can:
- provide clues into how we deal with pressure and anxiety.
- explain how we relate to bosses, peers and direct reports employees.
- help us appreciate how we work in teams.
- understand our repeated behaviours that can become dysfunctional.
- remove our resistance to change.
- understand better the challenges some leaders face such as feeling like an imposter.
Fundamentally it is about understanding your 'inner drivers' of behaviour and these mostly formed early in your life. Understanding your 'inner drivers' will in turn lead to a greater awareness of your leadership behaviours & style.
I have found over the years that those CEOs and senior leaders who are most effective typically have a higher level of self-awareness...they know how (and why) they tick.
Now I am not suggesting you spend months navel gazing in a 'new age' Himalayan retreat to reach some point of higher enlightenment nor am I suggesting you spend years visiting a psychoanalyst...
.....but I do recommend you invest sometime to reflect on your 'inner drivers' of behaviour and how they evolved.
A greater understanding may well lead to a more balanced and successful executive life and career.
And understanding why you do what you do, can help you put in place a simple action plan to change repeated behaviours that no longer serve you well.
Pause for thought...
The Monkees theme tune - watch it on YouTube - click here (open new window)
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