Supporting Leaders for SuccessDec 12, 2022
You may have noticed that the last few years have been...stressful?!
The greater the stress, the less likely it is for someone to operate at their highest levels. This is especially evident for leaders. If you are a leader (and you are), you have noticed this. I believe everyone is a leader. We must lead ourselves, then we lead other people. Leadership is about influence and we all influence others. How well we do that depends on our leadership skills and practices.
When do you find it most difficult to lead yourself or others?
Think for a few minutes about what makes leading yourself and/or others more difficult. Let's do a quick exercise that will help with this.
EXERCISE: List 5-10 things that make leading more difficult. Here is my list:
- Increased complexity
- Difficult people
- Things outside your control
- Lack of confidence
- Unresolved issues
- Self-imposed roadblocks
- Unrecognized patterns
- Derailing emotions
OK...now let's reflect on what is underneath each of these challenges. Let me give you a hint. Number 10 (derailing emotions) is key to understanding what is behind each challenge. That is right, if you drill down far enough on each of these challenges, you will find emotional drivers. Emotional drivers could be helpful, but in the case of these challenges, they are probably derailing and unhelpful.
Think of a time when you were trying to lead yourself or others through a specific situation and you found yourself stuck. Why? Were their strong emotional drivers that kept you stuck? Were you concerned about the reaction of others to your decisions? Did uncertainty or lack of confidence impact your decision making?
The success of a team or organization directly correlates with leadership capacity and competence. What I refer to as leadership bandwidth. Anything that reduces this is a problem. In my consulting and coaching work, here are some common leadership bandwidth detractors:
- Lack of transparency
- Allowing unresolved issues to linger
- Little or no intentional and ongoing leadership development
- Worker shortages
- Lack of accountability
- Over limiting decision making authority
- Processes or systems that require constant attention
- Upward delegation
These are just a few of the limiting factors standing in the way of leadership excellence. So, what do we do about this?
The place to start is with a simple understanding that leaders are people and need support.
Taking a realistic look at what specifically is impacting leadership right now, the list is massive. Economic uncertainty, worker shortages, changing regulations, the new workplace, constant technological advances, remote or hybrid workers, lack of access to good information, and the list goes on. Any of these has the potential to create derailing emotional drivers. Even more when you consider combinations of these elements are most likely.
Supporting leaders may seem a daunting effort, but in reality, there are a few key steps to ensuring leaders have the support they need.
5 steps to support leaders:
- Assess - providing a leader with good data that leads to good insights, about their leadership and about their people, is critical to supporting a leader to operate at their highest level. Leadership assessments & 360's, team assessments, talent assessments, pre-hire assessments are all excellent ways for a leader to understand where they are and where their people are so they can make better decisions.
- Equip - "leaders are learners". You have probably heard this phrase before. Equipping leaders is an investment that provides huge value. Increased leadership capacity and competency, retaining key employees, increased engagement leading to greater productivity, greater leader and team satisfaction and results, innovation, and increased profitability.
- Align - This often overlooked element has a direct impact on results and outcomes. The more leaders have the opportunity to align, the better the outcomes. This is a key practice where innovation and collaboration thrive.
- Coaching - Every professional athlete has at least one coach. Business professionals need a coach for very similar reasons: focus, performance, support, learning, development, navigating complexity, making their best plans and decisions, and a safe place to work through challenges, ideas, and innovations.
- Resource - Providing the resources a leader needs to operate at their best is a critical element of support. Having the right number of workers, access to good information, processes and guidelines that enhance leadership insight and effectiveness, training, support services like HR, appropriate budgets. All of these are resources that a leader needs if they are to succeed.
With uncertainty ahead, the best way to prepare, is to prepare leaders for whatever comes next. We describe this with words like agility, resilience, emotional courage, intrinsic motivation, empathy, and perseverance.
"The internal resources you have to face the next challenge or take advantage of the next opportunity are only those internal resources you have built to that point." This makes preparation a key success factor for leaders. How are you building those internal resources for yourself? How are you building them in other leaders? Prepare then succeed!
For more, check out our other resources:
Copyright © 2022 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected]
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