An Important Key to Launching your Leadership Success.
July 7, 2014
July 7, 2014
As a leader it is critical to realize that you control no one else. You don’t control your employees, your boss, your spouse and/ or your kids. The more you try the closer to burnout you’ll get.
You can have incredible influence on the people around you by controlling the only person you can which is yourself. That statement, while powerful to understand isn’t new. In this blog, I want to take it one step farther:
Your success as a leader relies on you realizing that you don’t fully control yourself either.
Guilty as charged. In my career at Shell there were things I really wanted to do and things I knew I needed to say but didn’t always have the courage to. At home there are times where I truly want to act differently but feel helpless as I continue to do what I do not want to do. I’m going to age myself by confessing that my mind gets tortured relating to my memories of the childhood cartoon series Davey & Goliath where Goliath constantly says “Don’t do it Daaaaavey”. Everyonce in a while I can hear him talking to me. The “just don’t do it” solution seems so simple, yet doesn’t always work.
What we want to do isn’t always what we actually do. A big example in companies is people’s conflict management style. When I ask Authorenticity® workshop attendees how they approach conflict in the workplace, most consider themselves collaborative and can explain what that should look like. Yet when the heat is on, many of them don’t truly act that way. In the heat of battle, some of them confess to acting like WWE wrestling superstars flying off the top rope, pounding their adversary into the mat and grabbing what they want (the belt). Some of them take the open exit aisle back to the safety of their dressing room waiting for a better time.
My experience is that some people are way better at controlling themselves then others but I have yet to meet someone in complete control.
Success in leadership will require that you overcome some of your weaknesses and gaining control is essential. The key to your success in starting to not do the things you don’t want to do is to take control of the only other thing you control as a leader and that is the environment you create.
The environment you build for your team should include two key components:
1) Vision: They specifically and measurably know where the team is headed and what needs to be done.
2) Accountability: Knowing what they CAN do the environment holds them responsible for their choices with reward as a consequence for good choices and potentially discipline as a consequence for bad ones.
It seems simple to say but harder to do and the “how to” is the focus of many of the Authorenticity® leadership workshops I put on. I’ve met so many of you who are already great at creating that type of environment for your team where they are empowered to achieve and grow.
They key question for you then is: Have you chosen to place yourself in that same environment.
Your immediate answer might be ‘yes’. In companies every boss has a boss who in some shape or form has expectations of you and measures your performance. They deliver what I call “Goal Accountability” which is useful in pushing us through some of our weaknesses.
If you want to take your leadership to the next level you realize that this accountability is a rather high level accountability. It addresses the high level “what” needs to be done but doesn’t and often shouldn’t address the weaknesses and challenges you will face in the “how” to do it.
I strongly encourage every leader I meet to ensure they have “Effectiveness Accountability” in their life. This comes through choosing and placing a mentor relationship as a part of our environment. Mentors are someone we know, respect and trust who we approach to help us. They help us by hearing us out on our daily struggles, providing an outside voice to give clarity to them and then guiding us to create a plan to overcome them. The kicker is they hold us accountable to that plan much like we do the people who work for us. They can’t fire us but they can walk away and tell us to let them know “when we are serious about change” if they aren’t seeing footsteps to move forward. Often the potential of that consequence coming from someone who we trust and respect is worse than the thought of being fired by someone we maybe don’t trust and/or respect. It can push us through our fears and on the pathway to explosive personal growth and success.
I have a simple formula for motivation: Motivation = Want to + Have to. Placing a mentor in our life helps create an environment where both totally exist and we can start to do those things we want to do, despite the things we don’t control. While it causes some additional short term stress you will love the medium to long term results you’ll see.
David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind wowtrucks.com and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar. All posts by David Benjatschek