Nov 29
Being Yourself, Saviour and Broken Simultaneously

1 Mindset Guaranteed to Halt Your Leadership Growth

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Have you ever seen that one extremely successful individual? They have a role in which they cast a large shadow, and people are infatuated when that individual speaks? They have the experience, education, talent and amazing strengths. We assume they must have it all figured out.

Knowing that this is what successful people look like – having it “all together” – we certainly don’t want to appear any other way. After all, we want this same level of success.

You envision that these folks live and work without fear, limitations, or any insecurities at all – they only exude presence and confidence. This gets you thinking about your own issues. We assume that no one who succeeds would face these problems either.

For example, look at Facebook. It is a place where everyone can share the absolute best versions of themselves through photos and videos. Funny how we don’t see the kids screaming, the messed-up kitchen, or the unkempt hair in the morning. A study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology finds that not only do Facebook and depressive symptoms go hand-in-hand, but the mediating factor seems to be a well-established psychological phenomenon referred to as “social comparison.”

Social comparison is a powerful phenomenon with potentially devastating effects. It applies to all of us in some way. Let’s face it, we care what other people think; otherwise, you would see a lot more people with an unshaven face running around in their PJs ☺. As a result, when we see our own human flaws, we rationalize them, hide them and turn them into necessary character traits for our success.

Success Superstition

My friend and mentor, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, explained “success superstition” to me in simple terms. It is when we say, “I am successful because of what I am doing; if I change, I will fail.” Bullshit. Alright…that is my sentiment, not Dr. Goldsmith’s – although I think he would agree. When you get stuck in a mindset that says your lack of development in certain areas is responsible for your success, you are in trouble.

We hear people say, “it is his determination, motivation and drive that got him here.” Sure, he is hard to work with and not fun to be around. However, that is how he “needs to be” to get the job done. I have heard those comments describe me too many times. A more accurate statement would be, “he is an overachiever struggling with perfectionism, who is overly aggressive about accomplishing his goals. Yet, he is categorically oblivious as to how to work with people, or he is so self-absorbed that he is unapproachable.”

That may sound a bit brutal. Still, I would hypothesize that based on my experience as a leadership coach over the last decade, more than 80% of executives and business owners could relate to that statement. If you’re not sure that this includes you, take an honest look in the rear-view mirror. How much collateral damage have you left in your wake throughout your success journey?

The fact that this mindset is common amongst driven and motivated people does not suggest it is the way to succeed. Instead, it rather highlights amazing opportunities to augment your existing strengths, which are more IQ-oriented, with character strengths rooted in your EQ.

Continue to capitalize on your intellect, experience, charm, decisiveness and presence. Layer this with key leadership skills of empathy, vulnerability and active listening. Think about it – would augmenting your current strengths with new ones make you less successful? Of course not. it will take you to a new level, that up to this point you only admired in other people. The shame is that many will never take the risk or expend the effort to grow in these areas. The upside is that it makes more room for you in the top ranks of successful leaders.

Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book titled “Integrity” speaks to the fact that most of us have not had a safe place (one that does not pose risk to our career or life) to develop, or practice that additional layer of our character that will take us where we need to go.

We love the truth when it enlightens us and hate the truth when it convicts us

“We love the truth when it enlightens us and hate the truth when it convicts us.” St. Augustine.

The fact is that people who see the truth are the ones that win.

It is not rocket science to determine how to layer these skills. You have been using the simple formula below in business, with success, for your entire career:

  1. Understand the current state
  2. Define a desired future state
  3. Close the gaps

The same model applies to develop the aforementioned powerful leadership skills that will accelerate your true success. We have designed a simple leadership tool that does all three.

Give it a try here:

The only risk you face by completing the assessment is learning how to become greater than you already are.

I welcome your feedback. Do you fall in this 80%, or know someone who does? What advice would you give them (or yourself)? Maybe, like me, you have battled through this unproductive era of growth. What did you do to shift the narrative?

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