I was at my friend’s place last week for dinner. She has 2 kids, a son and daughter. We were chatting and in the midst of a discussion, her daughter Nikita, comes up to her Dad and reminds him that it is her time to play chess with him. Despite being told that he will play with her later, she insists. He consents and tells her that she will play the game without playing any pranks. Nikita is a junior chess champion at a State level for girls under 10 years. Her dad, although not a champion has always been an expert in chess. We were watching them play and Nikita suddenly turned to her mom and asked her a question on what she should do. I also noticed that she didn’t just ask for a solution but explained what her strategy was and consulted her mother on which option she should choose as the next step.
John was having some morale issues among his team. He had 5 direct reports though he was responsible for a team of fifty. He decided he will conduct a survey to determine the engagement and satisfaction among his team. At the end of one month, the time period given for completing the survey, only fifteen of his team members had responded and that too those that he had coaxed into responding. Based on the results of fifteen members who took the survey, John concluded that he was not the reason for the low morale issue.
What do these two different individuals teach you ? Nikita teaches you to lose like a leader. John is an example of how with his title, is self-centered, egoistic and supports his own press.
Leadership is not always about winning or about titles or elevated status. As leaders you can lose, and yet inspire your followers and have respect
Five Behaviors To Lose As A Leader
- Your control and micromanagement – if instead of managing teams you micromanage by refusing to delegate leads to mistrust and low morale. You don’t allow people to grow and develop and utilize their talents.
- Fear – as a leader you don’t need to know all the answers. Lose your fear of asking questions and finding out from people who may be experts or have the knowledge. Nikita consulted her mom when she was unsure about the next move she should choose to achieve her strategy.
- Manipulation – you don’t necessarily become a leader by occupying a position of a leader in an organization You have to earn the respect and trust of your team or people whom you work with. Without appreciating your team, empathizing with their views, needs or alternate views, your team can get disengaged. John didn’t want to take responsibility for the low morale among his team members. He tried to force some of his team members to fill the survey and get the results he desired. He shut out the truth.
- Withholding information – you cannot gain trust by revealing and sharing information that suits you. Self-serving behavior is a slippery slope and a prelude to an organization’s failure.
- Bad attitude – You can lose your ego and be humble. Humility will make you likable and earn the respect of your team. Whilst as a leader you are not expected to know everything, you need to keep abreast of the developments. You have to be credible.
As leaders, you would do well in losing your ego, arrogance, need to demand respect and be liked.
As you scale up the path in an organization or in your business as a leader and part of senior management, it probably gets lonely at the top. The responsibility that many leaders feel for their team and people creates a fear of failure and possibly a lack of Executive Presence. Many leaders get overwhelmed and start denying reality.
Life at work or in an organization has challenges that sometimes feels as if it saps the energy out of you. There are a wide range of emotions that you will experience and confront as a leader. However as a leader, why fear in seeking help to get on a path of personal development and avoiding the pitfalls and letting your inner gremlin bewilder you? A coach or mentor can assist you in the shift you want to make in your professional development and growth.
1. As a leader are you known for your integrity?
2. Why do you want to lead? What does leadership mean to you?
3. What have you learned from losing?