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  • feedwordpress 10:00:36 on 2018/01/16 Permalink
    Tags: , business, Isolation, , , , , ,   

    What Great Leaders Struggle With – But Are Scared to Admit 

    I recently gave a keynote to a room filled with hundreds of leaders from around the world. These were people with prestigious positions and reputations for excellence, and I was humbled and honored to be in their presence.

    After my keynote a crowd gathered at the back of the room, where I was signing my new book. Speaking with these accomplished leaders one on one, I began to notice a pattern. Many of them were using the content of my talk as a springboard to talk about their struggles—struggles they were scared to admit to others, especially their colleagues, their teammates, and their boards. The nature of their struggles fell into a few broad categories.

    1. They were grappling with loneliness and isolation. We think of business leaders as being surrounded by people all the time, but the old adage is true—it really is lonely at the top. In a recent study, 61 percent of C-suite leaders believed isolation hindered their performance. That’s a significant proportion of top executives who are suffering—and not performing at their peak. The sense of isolation is even more pronounced, and its effects more significant, during challenging times. Those who are dealing with loneliness and isolation need to know they aren’t alone. Finding ways to let people in may mean overcoming the myth that we need to do it alone, but it’s the best cure for loneliness and isolation.

    2. They were wrestling with self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. From time to time we all feel inadequate. or suffer from self -doubt, but leaders tend to see it through the lens of their team and the others who are counting on them, and it leaves very little room for even questioning yourself. In an unfamiliar situation or one with no easy answers, even if they have the necessary skills to arrive at a solution, they may start to question and mistrust themselves. As I discuss in my latest book, The Leadership Gap, tapping into your capabilities and competencies can provide the confidence you need to overcome times of self-doubt.

    3. They were fearful of letting people down. Like the rest of us, most leaders ascribe to a set of rules and standards, and they hope people are pleased with the work they do. But if it’s done right, leadership involves risk and courageous decisions, and one of the hazards is that sometimes you let others down and have to face their disapproval. Especially when you’re trying to achieve something significant, it’s important to remember that you can’t always please others (or even yourself) and free yourself to make tough choices in light of the big-picture priorities and your goals for your team and organization.

    4. They were afraid of public failure. We may teach that failure is a component of eventual success—and it is—but it’s still something that everyone dreads. And when you fail as a leader, you fail big. Especially for a group of people who tend to have healthy egos, it can be rough. It may be easier said than done, but when you’ve wiped out is the time to get out of your own head and look objectively at failure as a learning experience.

    5. They were scrambling to get everything accomplished. We all tend to have a lot to do on any given day. That daily pressure is magnified for leaders, who have their own things to accomplish and have to make sure everyone on their team is performing well. It’s a big burden, and the only way through is to focus on what you need to accomplish as a leader, do it with excellence and make sure you are surrounded by the right people doing their right jobs in the right way.

    6. They were laboring over their weaknesses. Most people hate to admit they have weaknesses. My keynote took this as a topic, with the gist being that while most leaders are working to find their strengths, I’m a big believer in identifying your weaknesses and leveraging them. That same message is an important part of The Leadership Gap.

    7. They struggled with criticism. Leaders learn early on that everyone has an opinion about their actions and thoughts. All feedback is good, but it’s hard to listen to critical opinions, especially when they seem poorly thought through or mean spirited. As a leader, you need people to share information with you, and that means managing your emotions when you hear things seem unfair.

    8. They were wrestling with the best way to handle confrontation. Few of us enjoy confrontation, but it’s a necessary skill if you want to challenge those you lead. The reality of leadership is that there are times when you have disagreements where you have to stand up and challenge someone. Confrontation is where the skill of true leadership lies, because the best leaders learn how to question and tackle challenge with a humble and sincere approach.

    What I came to realize that day is that it doesn’t matter what position you have or whether you lead a team of one or a company of thousands. Struggle is a part of leadership, it brings lessons to be learned and opportunities to be shared. If you can find meaning in your struggle you will succeed as a leader.

    Lead From Within: When leaders can battle the struggles of the present they will learn to unlock the success in their future.

     


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    The Leadership Gap
    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post What Great Leaders Struggle With – But Are Scared to Admit appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:06 on 2018/01/09 Permalink
    Tags: Awareness, , business, , , , , , ,   

    All Successful Leaders Need This Quality to be Effective 

    If you’ve recently been promoted or somehow flagged as a leader, you might be feeling pretty good about yourself, as if you know it all. But the quality that really helps successful leaders be effective is awareness —and until you develop your capacity for awareness, none of your knowledge will do you much good.

    When you’re in a leadership position, sometimes those around you will shield you from reality. They may not want to tell you about a problem because they are afraid of being blamed. They won’t tell you something isn’t working because they feel intimidated about second-guessing you. They may protect you from unpleasant truths out of misplaced loyalty or because they don’t want to deal with your response. Instead of telling you what you need to know, they may complain behind your back, remain quiet rather than disagree with you, or maybe just leave altogether to avoid confrontation.

    You may be sailing through your day thinking everything is fine, but if the things you need to know aren’t getting to you, you have a problem. Here are seven questions based on the traits of highly aware leaders—use them to assess and build your own capability for awareness.

    Do you lead with questions? Are the kind of leader who is inquisitive? Do you ask a lot of questions, or are you assuming you know it all? Leaders who pride themselves on being aware are consistently asking questions.

    Are you open to constructive feedback? For some, feedback always feels like criticism, but constructive feedback is actually a great gift. When you can be open to feedback you become more aware, a better leader and a better person.

    Do you create a safe environment? If you want to hear constructive feedback, you must create a safe culture, a safe environment where people can speak their mind and heart. If people don’t feel safe speaking out, you end up with a culture where people either complain behind your back or walk away, so they don’t have to deal with you. Either way, an unsafe environment leads to a toxic culture. Even if your culture normalizes this climate, that doesn’t make it right.

    Are you open to learning new things? The best leaders understand how much they don’t know, and they treat learning as a big part of leadership. They never stop discovering, learning and wondering about new ways of doing things.

    Do you assume everyone agrees with you? Aware leaders remain open to disagreements and conflict. They expect others to speak up and state their mind, and they model the idea that differences are meant not to divide but to enrich.

    Are you too distracted to be informed? I have seen many leaders who simply have too much going on—whose enormous responsibilities leave them too distracted to know what they’re doing and how they’re being perceived. But an anxious and distressed leader makes for an uneasy and agitated team. Don’t allow distractions to keep you from being informed.

    Are you surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you? Some leaders will think they have to be the smartest person in the room, so they surround themselves with mediocrity. But mediocrity will never yield excellence. The best and smartest leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter and who can disagree with them, and they learn from those people.

    Aware leaders have the capacity to stand apart from themselves and examine their thinking and actions. In turn, they receive the insight to lead not only themselves but also others to greatness.

    Lead from within: Awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. It is the difference between limiting yourself and evaluating yourself—not only as a leader but as a person.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    The Leadership Gap
    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post All Successful Leaders Need This Quality to be Effective appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:13 on 2018/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , business, , , , , Strength, , , Weakness   

    How to Stop Seeing Struggle as Something Negative 

    Every company I speak to, every leader I coach, I see a constant pattern—virtually everyone sees struggle as something.

    At the heart of this perception, people get too caught up in the idea of struggle to consider what struggle at its core is all about. Most people cannot see themselves objectively, which leads them to fall into the gap of their own weaknesses and shortcomings.

    Faced with struggle, most people are likely turn to one of these four behaviors:

    Deny. Many refuse to acknowledge the role of their own weaknesses in their struggle.

    Turn around. Some accept their weakness but are always looking for a cul-de-sac so they can turn around instead of facing them.

    Change. Some change their direction altogether.

    Leverage. A few are able to accept their weaknesses and work to leverage them—to work on them and turn them into strengths.

    Faced with these options, your success depends on the choice you make:

    If you deny your weaknesses, they will own you. You’ll continue to constantly bump up against them, and you’ll likely continue to suffer.

    If you look for turnarounds, you will find yourself right where you started. There is no turning around from your weaknesses—just acknowledgement or avoidance.

    If you are looking to change, remember that change is good but takes hard work, discipline and consistent action to change longstanding old patterns.

    If you learn to leverage your weaknesses by learning to accept and acknowledge them, you will have found the most effective way to deal with your struggles.

    In my latest book, The Leadership Gap, I talk about how people make choices. In times of struggle, most people aren’t interested in leveraging their weaknesses. It’s human nature to deny them, dismiss them or learn to work around them. But life has a way of repeating the things we don’t want to deal with.

    So how do you leverage your weaknesses and let go of? There are four distinct things you can do:

    Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own issues. The strengths and weaknesses and situations of other people don’t have anything to do with you. We all have something to work on, and the best way to leverage any weakness is to be true about yourself—to find out what you need to work on and to learn new skills and competencies so you can constantly be growing and developing. When you take the time to reflect on who you really are it will give you the ability to look at yourself, the world around you, and the relationship between you and the world with the deep insight that leads to wise new choices.

    Stop worrying. Worry has never achieved much besides feeding the struggle, so stop worrying and start thinking. What can you do today that will lead to small wins tomorrow? What actions can you take that will generate movement instead of stagnation? Connect with what you really want and what you need to do to attain it

    Stop blaming others. Don’t blame your bad decisions or your bad choices on anyone or anything else. This is your life and your struggle. Instead of finding others to blame for your struggles, search your own past and look for the origins of your weaknesses. Blaming others is a subconscious mechanism for avoiding accountability, but it’s still unacceptable. Making bad choices and struggling for them is part of life, and it’s immature to blaming others for those bad decisions.

    Stop the pain. There are two kinds of pain—one that just hurts you, and another that teaches you. Each of us can grow stronger from pain when we don’t allow it to destroy us. Unfortunately pain can stop progress and struggles can impede success, but the pain we feel today is the strength that will help us endure tomorrow.

    Strength and growth come though constant work and effort—and from struggle of every kind.

    Lead from within: Successful leaders are those who can look beyond a struggle or failure and manage the circumstances and situations as well as their response—things they can shape, adjust and change.

     


    N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R

    The Leadership Gap
    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Stop Seeing Struggle as Something Negative appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:10:26 on 2017/11/07 Permalink
    Tags: , business, , Emerging Leaders, , , Leadership Struggles, , , ,   

    Why Your Emerging Leaders Need Coaching 

    Recently I gave a keynote at a company, and while I was there I overheard one of the senior leadership team members say he didn’t believe in coaching and that nurturing emerging leaders isn’t important to leadership development.

    My first reaction was to ask myself, “What am I doing here?” The second, which followed closely, was that it’s no wonder the company has trouble meeting targets and pleasing stakeholders, or that they rely outside consultants to tell them what is wrong. (Which, by the way, is not the same thing as coaching—it’s the difference between someone telling you something’s wrong and having them help you get it right.)

    I believe, coaching emerging leaders makes the development process smoother, quicker and more thorough. Here are some of the areas where coaching is critical to leadership development:

    Self-identification of leadership. Emerging leaders need to develop and identify their own leadership framework. Leadership is a difficult role, and unless they’re among the rare few who are born leaders, coaching will help them identify and clarify their leadership—which, in turn, leads to clarity regarding those they’ll be leading.

    Development of emotional intelligence. An older generation may consider leadership to be all about being the boss and guarding the bottom line, but happily the field has changed since those days. Emerging leaders need to be able to explore who they are as a leader, which includes developing and managing their emotional intelligence, and a coach is well equipped to guide that process.

    Communication and feedback. Coaching provides an outside perspective that helps emerging leaders understand how to communicate with clarity, how to embrace feedback and how they influence the potential of others just with their communication.

    Effective decision making. In the fast pace of business, emerging leaders have to learn to be decisive. You can leave that critical process to chance, or you can have a coach on hand to provide best practices, tools and techniques to make strong decisions quickly.

    Motivation and effectiveness. A key ingredient of every emerging leader is finding their personal source of motivation when times get tough. Sharing inspiration with a coach helps put them in touch with that source.

    Leveraging their leadership gaps. Every leader needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, and be able to identify some of their blind spots or triggers. Once they understand those gaps, they can leverage them to their benefit. As I discuss in my new best-selling book, The Leadership Gap, what you don’t own ends up owning you. Emerging leaders in particular can’t afford to allow blind posts or other areas of weakness to get in the way of their authentic, honest, courageous leadership.

    Manifesting character. Emerging leaders who start out on the path of leading with character will earn trust, receive and give respect, and be consistent in integrity. Coaching helps keep them on that path in the difficult early stages.

    Good leaders are passionate and committed, authentic, courageous, honest and reliable. But in today’s high-pressure environment, leaders need a confidante, a coach—someone they can trust to tell the truth about their struggles, which is a difficult role for others within the same organization to fill. That’s where coaches truly earn their keep.

    Lead From Within: Every good leader and every great emerging leader can benefit from a coach. Coaching gives them the confidence they need as an individual and as a leader to lead self and others to success and achievement.


    National Bestselling Book:
    The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post Why Your Emerging Leaders Need Coaching appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:01:45 on 2017/02/28 Permalink
    Tags: , business, Fast Company,   

    My New Boss, What Can I Do? 

     

    So much goes into making a good job: rewarding work, relationships with coworkers, a good work-life balance. But when one element is missing, a job you love can quickly turn into one that makes you miserable.

    This week, leadership coach Lolly Daskal helps a reader deal with a new boss that’s ruining the job she used to love.

    Hello,

    I’ve been at the same company for eight years. I don’t love my job, but I’ve liked it enough until recently. I’m in a small department and my manager is driving me crazy. He started at the company about a year ago and his overly emotional, micromanaging style does not suit me. My department colleagues have been able to adjust to his personality or avoid him completely. Because we work closely on major projects, neither is an option. I have to deal with his emotional outbursts and oversensitivity more often than my colleagues do.

    I’ve discussed my issues with him and with HR, but nothing has really changed. Because there is no option for a department transfer, I think my only other choice is to quit. I dread coming to work because of my manager. I’m stressed out and it’s beginning to affect my well-being.

    I know I should find another job before I quit this one. But I don’t think I can wait that long. We’re about to start a major project that I will be managing. Given the way I feel, what is my obligation to the rest of the team? Should I give them a heads-up before I give notice? I don’t want to leave them hanging with just two weeks’ notice, but honestly, I don’t know how much longer I can last.

    Thanks for your time.
    Miserable Marketer

    READ MORE

    [Photo: Flickr user Rebecca Wilson]

    The post My New Boss, What Can I Do? appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
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