Practical Tips for Winning with the 7 most Provocative Challenges of Leadership
The saddest state of leadership is thinking you’ve mastered something you haven’t.
7 Provocative Challenges:
#1. Courageously leading into the future while diligently managing the present. Over-led organizations become unstable. There’s too much change. Over-managed organizations grow stagnant.
Tip: Bring the outside in. Invite new employees to describe what it’s like to work within your organization. Listen for what they don’t say.
#2. Speaking the truth with candor, kindness, and respect.
Tip: Persistently invite people to speak the truth to you.
- Avoid defensiveness.
- Explore multiple alternatives.
- Always express gratitude when receiving input and feedback.
#3. Providing opportunities for individual choice while fulfilling organizational objectives.
Tip: First explore mission, vision, and goals. Second, ask how they might contribute in meaningful ways..
#4. Making space for others to move the agenda forward when you ‘know’ best.
Tip: Get out of the way.
- Provide training, mentoring, and coaching for team members.
- Stop making minor improvements to other people’s ideas.
- Provide opportunities for others to reflect. Ask, “What are you learning?”
- Practice saying, “Come back tomorrow and let me know how that worked.”
- Ask, “How might I help?”
#5. Unconsciously expecting more from others than you expect from yourself. Position and authority blind people. The result is entitlement.
Tip: Make a list of the things that frustrate you about your team members. How might you see yourself in the list?
- Are you complaining that others complain too much?
- Are you waiting for others to take initiative?
- What’s your ratio of giving feedback to inviting feedback?
#6. Refusing to have the same conversation more than once.
Tip: Point out patterns. “I notice that we discussed this last time we met. What needs to happen to change our next conversation?”
#7. Developing emotional intelligence when it seems that results are all that matters.
Tip: Ask yourself how you want others to feel when they’re around you. What behaviors will you adopt to encourage those emotions?
What leadership challenges and tips might you add to the list?
What tips do you have for the following leadership challenges?
- Managing energy.
- Nurturing connection when isolation feels easier.
- Building environments where teams thrive and talent wins.
- Nudging people to stretch themselves.
Dan, if the leader is not well suited to leading, then should we expect him to make the right decisions while leading?
Thanks Bob. Perhaps it depends on how they are not suited and to what degree. 😀
Hey Dan do you have any books or literature for first time managers? Or managers that were brought in and didn’t work there way up?
Thanks Richard. There are so many options that come to mind.
Management by Henry Mintzberg
Winning Well by Karin Hurt and David Dye
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Touch Points by Doug Conant
I really like number two about persistently invited others to speak truthfully. Sometimes leaders know its a good thing, but they may ask for it purely for that reason; to check mark the box. My other thought is on seeking feedback and input was that leaders should not try to argue around it. Accept the feedback and take it for what it is. Number four is relatable because as a doer I may fall victim to micromanaging if I feel someone doesn’t get what they are doing. I need to learn to provide the proper tools and at some point learn to step away and let learning take it natural course. Number five got me thinking about that ratio of feedback and I found one article that showcased generally a 6:1 of positive to negative for their highest performing teams versus about a 0.6:1 for their lowest performing teams. Overall great post, thank you.
Thanks Christopher. I really enjoy your reflections.
I think most of us fall prey to seeing the negative more than the positive unless we make specific interventions. Thanks again
When I experienced severe personal losses in three consecutive January’s, isolation indeed seemed progressively more and more amenable than connection. My grief-enhanced introversion sadly resulted in a period of your # 5. Suggestions for others finding themselves hypnotized by isolation would be:
1. Asking yourself each day who in your circle needs attention, if only a compliment and a question from you on how you can help them move forward
2. Scheduled review of goals (personal and business), and what you are doing versus what must be done to go forward.
Thanks Michael. Your insights are so helpful. My personal favorite is #1. When tempted to sink inward, choose an outward mindset.
Once again…excellent questions!