No one thinks they are bad at listening, receiving feedback, or any other common leadership mistake. That’s why self-awareness is so important for a leader explains Madeleine Blanchard, a master certified coach and co-founder of Coaching Services at The Ken Blanchard Companies.
In Blanchard’s experience, all leaders can benefit from examining some of the mindsets that might be operating just below the surface of their consciousness. It can be as complex as a formal 360-degree assessment, but it can also be accomplished through less formal methods. As Blanchard explains, “Sometimes all a person needs to do is get on the phone with a completely objective person who has their best interest at heart. Someone who is going to say, ‘Hey, what’s up with that? What’s going on?’”
“And they learn about themselves by talking. It is like cleaning out your closet and getting rid of all the old stuff that doesn’t fit anymore or that you never really liked in the first place.”
3 ways leaders hold themselves back
In an interview for the October edition of Ignite, Blanchard identifies three ways that leaders often hold themselves back. See if any of these might be hampering your effectiveness as a leader.
Limiting self-beliefs—people often self-impose rules and expectations on themselves that don’t serve them—even when they know what to do differently. It’s a matter of giving yourself permission. When Blanchard asks, “What keeps you from doing those things?” clients often reply, “Absolutely nothing. It just didn’t occur to me.”
Playing small—Blanchard shares another story about a client who was very comfortable in her own playing field but wasn’t seeing her own potential—or taking steps toward it—the way that others in the organization were seeing her. As a result, she wasn’t building the relationships or networks within the organization that would make her more effective.
Time orientation—finally, Blanchard often works with clients on expanding their time orientations. As she explains, “Each of us has a preferred and habitual time orientation—past, present, or future. Aspiring leaders are often very good at being in the present and focusing on what is right in front of them, but to take it to the next level, they also need to develop skills for future planning.”
Be yourself—only better!
People can and do change. And it almost never requires as big a shift as you might think. Blanchard likes to use the metaphor of a ship on a long sea voyage. If you make even a two-degree change in your direction you completely change your destination.
Where are you headed? What are some of the behaviors that might be holding you back as a leader? To read more on Blanchard’s thinking, be sure to check out Three Ways Leaders Hold Themselves Back.
Interested in learning more about identifying and changing limiting leadership behaviors?
Also check out a special Leadership Livecast on October 10. Over 40 different business thought leaders will be sharing examples of “un-leaderlike behaviors” and how they—or others—overcame them. The event is free courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies. Learn more at www.leadershiplivecast.com
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