Most leaders get where they are because they are either great at what they do, have a clear vision of the future, strive to be at the top through sheer ambition or a combination of all three.
Most leaders do not get into leadership positions because they love to deal with lackluster, combative and abrasive employees. And yet, good leaders do deal with personality issues on a regular basis. You are leading human beings, after all. Each with a history, personal life, rough edges and soft spots.
Successful leaders deal with difficult personnel issues swiftly and with a commitment to serve everyone fairly, but they do something else as well. They embrace the opportunity for learning that emerges from those situations. They see these flare ups as evidence of a need for more attention and focus, not something to avoid and ignore.
But how to do this? After all, you may be the leader but you too have a history, personal life, rough edges and soft spots. And you bring all that with you into your role as a leader.
The leaders that I work with often feel they don’t have the tools required for the job. They question their ability to be successful. They wonder aloud how they ended up in this position when they too can be abrasive, lackluster and combative at times. In other words, “why me?”
And while the “why me?” question can be interesting to ponder, it rarely leads to an effective solution to the challenge at hand. A better question may be “what can I learn from this situation and how can I use it to elevate my own understanding of leadership?” That question begins to provide a map for moving forward.
Let’s put it to use right now by trying it out on a situation you may be facing in the workplace:
- Identify an issue, challenge or concern.
- What needs to change? Be specific. Rather than thinking “Henry needs to be less of a jerk” it is probably more helpful to identify “Henry’s sarcastic asides during meetings are getting in the way of productivity.”
- Identify benefits for Henry, you and the rest of the team if his habitual sarcasm is no longer a factor.
- Identify what you can learn from solving this issue. How can this be a stepping stone to greater leadership skills?
- What is the best outcome for all concerned including Henry?
Asking these kinds of questions will help you to navigate the flare ups, but more importantly, it will help you to continue to grow in your leadership skills. What better leadership is there than to model a willingness and ability to learn?
I welcome your comments and sharing.
Learning and elevating in L.A.,