We all have seen leaders who are excellent in the beginning but the job simply out grows them. Their lack of motivation to change or the willingness to learn more complex knowledge or skills really makes them a liability to the organization. In many cases, their early success creates an operational pattern that is repeated way too long.
I have been guilt of this many times. In my case – for example, was over printed material – I am prone to push for in my old business model. I remember reacting to a plan to move our academic catalog to an online version. I insisted that many parents still wanted a printed catalog. I was pushed on this issue by peers. I was afraid of how this change would impact our families. This move would save money and we were also purchasing a piece of software that would make it easy to navigate online.
I still had reservations about this change. I believe we can all get locked in ways that are just comfortable. I was wrong – we got not 1 complaint – we just said to our new families that we we were “going green” and reducing cost.
Here are some tips for coaching yourself to better leadership:
1. Personal change should be viewed as a healthy part of personal leadership growth. This also means be open to positive changes in operations and learning new professional development/knowledge. Yes – this means technology too.
2. Hire people that have strengths that you don’t have and listen to their opinions carefully. They provide opinions you need to hear to stay focused and sharp. They will make you examine your leadership strategies regularly which will make you better. Hire tough – mange easy….I am told…
3. Evaluate your own performance by focusing on making your staff successful – when they are successful – you are too. When they feel good about their work – it is usually better. Great leaders don’t make their focus on themselves. Egos are a enemy of your willingness to grow. You’re not always the smartest person in the room.
4. Find a mentor or peer that can give you honest feedback on all aspects of your professional development. Ask them to shoot straight and listen.
5. You should attend professional meetings to build peer networks. These meetings or conference will enhance two things – first, sessions will show you the best business practices and helps you build a network of peers who are charged with the same work or leadership challenges. Many leaders simply just don’t take time to stay current since it is hard to get away from the office. These time away will recharge your batteries and gives you new ideas to get you motivated and thinking foward.
6. Staying in shape – many folks just don’t take the right approach to eating right, sleeping or maintain the right personal balance to stay sharp under the increasing stress levels of today’s work place and endless technology access. This is like a sink hole that suddenly comes crashing in because the pressure was greater than the support.
7. Balance – Put down the technology at home. When you at home – be there mentally. Take a break from the smart phone, email, voice mail or texts – at least one day on the weekend. Question – Who is going to be at your funeral? – they should take priority in your schedule and time, right?
What steps have you taken to keep your leadership moving forward? We are either moving forward or moving backwards – no such thing as holding ground anymore. GTR