Raising Your Leadership Bar (Part 1)

In today’s breakneck corporate culture, many leaders have redefined their success.  Merely keeping up with the chaos has become an acceptable goal.  The trend in organizational management is to focus on staying afloat and ponder the future if time allows.  The common theme I often see is do more with less.

Unfortunately, this attempt to enhance the profit picture has created unprecedented levels of stress, dysfunction and disappointment for leaders. The time leaders can afford to spend on their leadership skills and personal growth, as critical as these areas are, seems to shrink every year.  Leaders are under increasing pressure to make their companies all they can be, with little time taken to making themselves all they can be.

The most successful leaders use sound approaches to assess their work and determine what they can do to improve what they do. They understand that their company will prosper if they personally prosper as an effective leader with the best approach, ability, mindset and stability. How they go about raising their personal bar is the key.

What’s Your Perspective?

If chaos is the norm for you, have you ever contemplated how you can change that? Do you recognize the detrimental effects that chaos has on you? The most effective leaders I have worked with have learned to step back, even if only briefly at first, to assess their leadership situation: their career, influence, personal growth and satisfaction. They ask themselves important questions and try to find answers:

  • What are the things in my role that I should continue doing?
  • What are the things in my role that I should change?

These are prominent concerns all leaders should address, writes leadership expert and author Peter Bregman in, Leading with Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, and Inspire Action on Your Most Important Work (Wiley, 2018). These areas are foundational in developing the character, skills and desires to lead well.

Let me ask:

  • What would it look like if you became all you could be?
  • What’s keeping you from getting there?
  • How best can you alter the things that are holding you back?
  • What character traits are worth developing in this endeavor?

Leaders who deliberately find time to explore these areas are richly rewarded. They grow in their abilities and value, make more use of the skills they have and enter new avenues of opportunity and success.  To start, find a way to schedule more time for these kinds of thoughts.  A seasoned leadership coach is an excellent resource to guide you through this process. Few leaders see things objectively enough when dealing with their inner workings. A second set of eyes spots things you can’t.

Leaders make the most progress in self-development by cutting through the clutter, looking at the big picture and making basic, yet profound adjustments. This may require courage, patience and determination.

Bregman suggests four fundamental categories that leaders can examine to enhance their mindset, value and purpose:

  • Clarity
  • Focus
  • Intentionality
  • Balance

What do you think? How do you raise your leadership bar? You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.