As an Executive Leadership Coach, I often see the personality of two different leaders. And sometimes, I see both personalities in the same leader. I see leaders that are too hard on themselves, and leaders who are too easy on themselves. As you read on, you may see one or both of these personalities in yourself.
First, let’s talk about leaders that are too hard on themselves. This is the personality I see come out in most of the leaders I am blessed to work with. There’s a saying that, as a ‘recovering perfectionist’ myself, I like to remind myself of: “Sorry, but I am not perfect”.
In the course of leading people and change, we are going to make mistakes. And, yes, we may even, from time-to-time respond to stress and pressure in a way that, when we reflect on it, is not in a way that we would be proud of. In this mode (being too hard on ourselves), we tend to dwell on the mistake to the point that it affects the rest of our day, week, or even month. It causes us to stay awake at night, and generally makes one feel crappy!
Here’s a checklist for those times when we are too hard on ourselves…
Now, for the other trait I sometimes see, albeit rarely, in leaders… being too easy on ourselves. This personality most often shows itself with leaders that use the mantra “It’s not my fault” which is usually followed up with one or multiple excuses for why it is not their fault.
Here’s my mantra on that: “When times are good, leaders look out the window (at their team). When times are bad, leaders look in the mirror.” As a leader, you are not responsible for results. You are responsible for the people that are responsible for results. However, when results are not as planned or expected, it is your fault because you failed in leading your people. It is that simple.
One of the best things you can do for your brand as a leader and your career, is to take responsibility for every area of your life. I learned this one firsthand as a young leader when I got called to the President’s office. In the office I discovered that my boss (the VP of Marketing) had thrown me under bus for something that he was aware of and had approved. Thinking that I was about to be fired, I simply looked the President in the eye and said; “I am 100% responsible.” My boss was fired and I was promoted.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
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