Consider yourself a good leader?
Consider yourself a good leader? You might want to think again.
Ask yourself this question: What is the most important part of being a leader? How you show up has got to be near the top. In other words, your identity, your reputation.
The impact of power that roles and expectations has on an individual’s behaviour has been well documented. Whether as far back as Stanford’s controversial prison experiment in 1971, or more recent studies on social psychology, ‘identity’ and expectations about our role shapes how we behave. The powerful influence that a situation can have on human behaviour should not be under-estimated.
The role of leadership, therefore, requires us to be self-aware.
- Just what do we take the title to mean?
- What are our beliefs?
- What do we want our role to look like, and more importantly, what does our team need from us?
- How do we achieve that?
In a fast-paced, constantly changing, demanding business context, leadership means different things to different people. We must make a conscious decision about how to approach the role in a way that sits right for us and those around us. While there is no one-way to getting it right, we do know that never has there been a greater demand and need for compassion, authenticity, psychologically safe cultures, and positive employee experience. That is a tall ask for people who have not had the space to develop these aspects of their role.
Left to chance, we rely on our experience and what training, if any, we have had (very little for most leaders before acquiring the responsibility of looking after people!). As a result, guesswork, over-confidence, poor judgement, the inability to listen to feedback and learn from mistakes, a lack of team cohesion and poor relationships can arise. I’m not being critical – many leaders simply have not had the opportunity to reflect, learn and adapt. They are not even aware there is a need.
❓How do others see you?
❓ What do others want of you?
The disconnect between leaders’ self-perception and the reality as perceived by their team might be one of the most significant factors in poor leadership in business. Research suggests that between 50-75% of managers and leaders underachieve significantly (1), largely due to a lack of self-awareness. Yet we rarely ask the right questions to discover this void and seek to reduce it. Until we do so, companies will continue to experience difficulty with retention, engagement and performance.
Think too about:
- What you enjoy doing?
- What you are good at?
- What you need to get better at?
What are you going to do about transcending your leadership, to broaden your mindset and challenge your perceptions? Some starting points to get you going:
✅ Develop a feedback culture underpinned by psychological safety.
✅ Be authentic, and that includes being vulnerable. Leaders are humans first and foremost – your team needs to see that.
✅ Share with your team the aspects of your leadership that you want to improve, and ask them how you are doing; what do you do that helps, and what doesn’t?
Want to know more about how to achieve greater self-awareness, to gain confidence about leading with intent, and to narrow the gap between your perception and reality? Join us in the tipi!
If you can’t make it, let’s chat