1. Be comfortable in your own skin. Being eclectic needs to come from an organic base. You are building a style that works for ‘who’ you are. So, being comfortable with who you are is important. I know that, for some, this is easier said than done; however the more comfortable you are with being yourself and not feeling you have to be someone you’re not, the more natural being eclectic will feel. The key here is to have a sense of your beliefs and values. What is important to you? What do you stand for? What can you live with? What can you live without? There is no point looking to build a strong assertive style if your energy is more subdued and you value a more subtle or nuanced way of leading.
2. Look for Inspiration in “Out of the Way Places”. When working out who you want to be as a leader and how you want to be leading, be prepared to get inspiration in places you least expect. As an example, if you want to find ways to keep things real whilst at the same time bringing a sense of optimism and hope to your style observe the style of people like Turia Pitt, Kurt Fearnley or go back a bit further and get acquainted with Helen Keller. When leading in times of uncertainty what better place to be looking for ideas on these leadership attributes than in the people who have had to achieve success in the most uncertain of circumstances.
3. Experiment and Evolve. If you are comfortable in your own skin, and getting good at observing those around you for ideas on leading, the next step is to start experimenting with different techniques, ways of thinking or behaviours until you get to a place where it becomes natural for you. A good sportsperson doesn’t just get that way. They practice. Sometimes they need to experiment with their style. And then practice some more until it becomes natural. It’s the same with being eclectic. Truly eclectic leaders don’t stop at the experimenting stage. They get that the world is continually changing and that over time they may need to tweak aspects of their style to remain relevant.
Being eclectic isn’t about giving yourself a makeover. It’s not about giving up who you are (unless it makes sense to let go of some stuff). It’s about understanding who you are and knowing where you could strengthen your style…then acknowledging that you could go some way to filling those gaps or enhancing your style by learning from the world around you. And being brave enough to look beyond your immediate environment and beyond your culture and your biases for those ideas.