I was speaking to a colleague about how leaders come to feel the gap between where they are and where they want to be in terms of leadership.
They can usually point to one or two incidents when they were not at their best or things got a bit out of control and the outcome was short of what they hoped.
Self-aware leaders will take some responsibility for the less-than-ideal outcome. They will reflect on what happened and perhaps identify the point when the train started to go off the rails. They said something or did something, people reacted in unexpected ways, the morale or the mood shifted, and suddenly a well-planned engagement or meeting took a turn for the worse.
The reflection is important. That’s how adults learn and grow. But the next step is harder. How do you repair the damage? How do you ensure that it doesn’t happen again?
Repairing the damage may be as simple as a public apology. I know, it’s harder than it sounds. How do you ensure it doesn’t happen again? You can’t. We are human. We make mistakes. But we can make less of them if we are self aware and intentional and strategic about how we show up as leaders.
How do you do that?
It starts with a personal leadership inventory. An inventory that includes your vision of an ideal leadership style that reflects your values and personality and then identifies the blocks to achieving that ideal more consistently. That means having a greater degree of awareness around:
-Your triggers and hot buttons
-Your values and how you typically express them
-The quality of the energy you bring to a space
-The most effective way to earn trust in your organization
This awareness exposes where we might be vulnerable, how we can stand strong and be authentic as leaders, and it informs our choices around how we respond and how we engage positively.
It won’t guarantee that we will never again go off the rails but it will ensure that there is an engaged and conscious decision-maker at the wheel when things don’t go exactly as planned.
Learn how to craft your personal Leadership Inventory by joining us at the Emerging Leaders Development Seminar at the University of Tampa Saturday October 10, 2015. The public is welcome!