Professional Leadership Development Services
Leadership is Difficult
Maybe that isn't the most popular thing to say but having more than two decades of organizational leadership experience under my belt - I can state with great conviction that if you think leadership is easy - you probably aren't seeing the whole picture.
Popular opinion seems to want people to see leaders as over paid, under worked, "fat cats" that make tons of money off the backs of those that work for them. I admit some fall into this category. But, if you are reading this webpage, that probably doesn't describe you or the way you want your organization to lead.
I actually think leadership is simple but oh so very challenging. Let's take a quick peek at some of the typical challenges faced by leaders who want to inspire great performance in others.
Tactical Execution Takes Precedence
The biggest challenge I see leaders facing these days is time/workload/pace. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - many people like to be busy but unfortunately in a fast paced environment, it is often the tactical stuff that soaks up the time and energy - leaving very little left to actually be:
c) focused on organisational investment and growth.
I recall a Vice President where I once worked tell me that his leadership philosophy could be summed up as JFDI. (Just Freekin' Do It). It is safe to say that he and I don't share the same definition.
Fear Drives Poor Leadership Behaviours
Ask yourself (and other leaders in your organization) if the adrenalin surge, they are living every day at work is fueled by excitement. If the answer is a credible yes - then you are good to go.
In truth, most of that adrenalin surge is actually fueled by fear. Call it "Imposter Syndrome" or fear of failure, fear of powerlessness, fear of being disliked or worst yet ostracised. Sometimes it is fear of not knowing or feeling out of control. In any case, fear causes us to react instead of respond to situations.
Reacting in a crisis isn't a bad thing. Reacting like every day is a crisis is a terrible thing. Why? Because when we act out of fear, we are essentially running on an autopilot that is designed to save us. Not build the company. Not grow people. Not to become more competitive. Our autopilot saves us (or at least our Ego) and it does this by acting out with intimidation (I am in charge here!), manipulation (If you do this for me, I'll....), interrogation, (How could you possibly have made this mistake? What were you thinking?) or aloof judgement (complete disengagement).
Even if slightly effective in the short term - these negative leadership behaviours are cancerous in the medium and long term. High employee turnover rate? Check! High EAP usage rates? Check! No defence in depth for key positions? Check!
The Need to Be Everything to Everyone or To Be Like Someone Else
When our credibility has been developed based on task execution or in-depth knowledge or previous experience, we can easily find ourselves at the centre of every decision-making process, every minor conflict and every change opportunity. It is no wonder that leaders resort to JFDI! Unfortunately, the more of a centre point you become, the more valuable you feel, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy until one day your head explodes or you have a heart attack. This is not the role of a leader.
Nor is it useful to "need to be like someone else" who apparently is much more successful than you are. Surely if you just do what he or she is doing, you too can be successful. I don't know how much time, effort or stress it causes people to "act" like someone else, but I can state unequivocally that it is a death bell to effective leadership.
Think about it. When was the last time you were inspired by a charlatan? A fake? A poser? Not a great experience.
The best leaders work at being themselves. This requires that they know themselves (the good, the bad and...), accept themselves, (yup, you are human), be themselves consistently, (authenticity) and grow themselves (because we are never done).
Simple, Not Easy
Growing the leader requires growing oneself and this is not an easy proposition. You and your organization might benefit from some professional help. Hel discovering, developing and deploying your unique leadership talent. I would like to provide that help. You can get in touch using the form below.
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