You were taught very early to respect hierarchical authority. And our society calls this position of authority a leader. If you’re like most leaders you then believe you reach this position of hierarchical authority within an organization and should be thought of as a leader.
When you find yourself in this place and have had great mentors, coaches, bosses, peers and role models along the way to teach you the skills, attributes, behaviors of leadership or like so many your feeling very disconnected from your position.
Often this disconnection comes from under developed areas in any or all of the three areas in which we need to lead. Leadership of Self, leadership of others, and leadership of performance (the organization).
Often it is as helpful to focus on what we don’t do as what we do. In order to start new behaviors we must stop other behaviors. In order to change we must first be willing to recognize these behaviors in our selves. Before we can understand others we must first understand ourselves.
1) Are you facing your problems?
You will find there are places in your life that you have been trained to avoid. Certain responsibilities you have that always come last and often never get done on your to-do list. These are areas that create extreme discomfort and with this discomfort you move to distance yourself so you don’t have to feel the discomfort. If you don’t believe you have one of these areas that you avoid then consider your lack of awareness of this as your area of avoidance. Exceptional leaders face these areas of discomfort and are very clear about what they are. It is this ability to develop awareness of your shortcomings, avoidance areas, blind spots that executive coaching can help you with in abundance.
2) Are you too controlling?
Often when you don’t trust others it is not always because they are not trust worthy. It is because you have not learned to trust others. When you behave in a controlling, overly dominate way it is more likely about your lack of trust in others than it is in their in ability to do what needs to be done.
3) Are you cold, aloof or distant?
In order to lead you need to relate to others and most importantly they need to relate to you. When you show up cold and aloof you are not allowing yourself to care about yourself. You are not accepting your own worth and finding a place of center in which you are approachable to yourself and to others.
4) Are you self centered, overly ambitious, or narcissistic?
If you are into being an independent contributor and excelling at one particular skill you may be able to keep these traits. If you are destine to develop the skills of exceptional leadership you must recognize that peoples radar around you go off with this over inflated sense of self. When every situation is always about you and how you will look you have a problem. When you find yourself writing or speaking in “I” and “Me” language verses “us” and “we” it is clearly a sign that you are still trying to make yourself look good. When you are considering what is going to happen to your career rather than the careers of those around you – your on the wrong side of the tracks.
5) Do you have great people working for you?
It is amazing how often excuses come from those who defend having people who work for them that don’t support the team. When you find yourself defending those who report to you who do not meet your organizations needs and standards you have an issue. When you do not make a move to replace poor performing staff you have a problem. If you believe you’re the smartest in the room with your team, is it because you are not picking those who can challenge you or because you are a narcissist? If you are finding great people turn down opportunities to work with you it may because of how you are showing up and they are identifying your shortcomings from the interview process.
6) Do people trust you?
If you find yourself talking to others about others you are contributing to triangulation. Part of participating in this dysfunctional process of communication you engender distrust from all around you. If you are willing to talk about someone else behind their back you are just as likely to talk about them behind their back. Your emotional ability to sustain feeling discomfort with another and not sharing this with other co-workers in mandatory to developing leadership.