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Jan
06

Do You Find Yourself In A Leadership Rut?

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

As a kid we are often caught saying “I can’t wait to grow up…”. In response to this comment I remember my grandma saying to me “do not rush growing up, life goes by fast – even faster as you get older”. Wow, wasn’t she right… it is 2012, where did last year go?

So how do we slow things down and put priorities for life in place? One may suggest making New Year’s resolutions. We start off with great intentions and enthusiasm, but realistically after two weeks or a month the novelty wears off and we are right back to where we started.

I am a firm believer in not reinventing the “wheel” so when I come across a great piece of advice or what I like to call “an aha moment” I want to pass it on.  What a better time than the beginning of a new year to share some words of wisdom (even if they aren’t mine…).

I just read this great article that suggested 5 tips guaranteed to jump-start your brain and get you off on the right foot for 2012 (Mike Myatt, Leadership advisor to CEOs & Boards, and author of Leadership Matters) Here are some highlights to his article:

The difference between real leaders, and leaders in title only, is what they do when the creative juices begin to dwindle.  For most people, the simple truth is excuses come easier than solutions – but who said leadership was easy?  Leadership is about acclimation and reacclimation, improvising and adapting, learning and unlearning – leadership is about change.

Don’t make excuses – make changes. Saying you don’t have time for “X” is just code for “ X” isn’t important to me. Saying you don’t have the resources needed for change is just an admission you’re not very resourceful. Leadership has little to do with resources, but everything to do with resourcefulness. The funny thing is, those who are the most resourceful often end-up with the greatest amount of resources. If you’re stuck in a leadership rut, the following 5 steps will help you find your path back to real leadership:

  1. Go Break Something:  If you want to drive innovation, lead change, and create growth, stir the pot – go break something. Slaughter a few sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, break a paradigm, and inject a little chaos into your ordered world. Old isn’t necessarily wrong, but likewise, it’s not necessarily right either. Look for ways to create new advantages and make needed improvements. Reengineer a best practice into a next practice. Ask yourself this question: Is the most tenured person in a particular position, the best person for the position? If not, make a change. Don’t be bored, just implement a little creative destruction.
  2. Recharge Your Brain:  A brain is like any other energy source – it needs to be nourished in order to evolve. Whether you stimulate your brain through basic learning activities like reading, taking classes or participating in workshops or seminars, or by just giving it some well needed rest, the important thing is to make a concerted effort in this regard.  Vacations, sabbaticals, and service projects are also quite useful for creating new thinking. Carve out new neural pathways by subjecting the brain to new and creative ways of thinking. Change-up your routine and do things differently and more productively – you’ll be glad you did.
  3. Get Some Help:  The best leaders surround themselves with wise counsel, and make a habit of seeking out sound advice. Start close to home – ask your family for their candid opinion of your shortcomings, and then listen. Those who love you the most will also give you the respect of candor. In addition to seeking guidance from your family, seek out professional advice and counsel by joining a peer group, hiring a coach, creating an advisory board, or finding a new mentor. There are abundant resources available to leaders resourceful enough to seek them out. Don’t allow yourself to be held hostage by your pride, ego, arrogance, or ignorance – go get some help.
  4. Have a Vigorous Debate: Few things kindle the creative fires like a challenging debate. By seeking out dissenting views and differing opinions, you open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. A developed mind is the result of a challenged mind. Smart leaders take their business logic and willingly subject it brutal assault. In doing so, they often find what they believed to be close to perfect was in fact flawed. Go find the smartest people you can, and ask them to poke holes in your theories and beliefs. There is value in both validation and invalidation. Don’t be afraid of being proven wrong – be afraid of thinking you’re right when you’re not.
  5. Fire Yourself: In the final analysis, if you can’t or won’t fix yourself, or you can’t or won’t allow yourself to be developed by others, then it’s time to pass the baton. Both you and your organization deserve more than just a leader in title, and if you cannot perform as leader then find someone who can. Whether you transition to a co-CEO role, entrepreneur in residence, Chairman of the Board, consultant, take a sabbatical, or you just resign your position, all concerned parties will be better off by making a move that is likely long overdue.

Simple solutions right? So make 2012 a year of change. Start small, work your way up and become a better leader.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827-1464 | yvonne.rempel@knowledgeconnector.ca

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