Being a strong leader
involves reading our work environment accurately. When I coach leaders we begin with an honest reflection of why they are seeking help and understanding what is actually happening in their jobs and careers. It may seem simple to see our work world around us correctly, yet that doesn’t always occur. In fact, many leaders at all stages of their careers can have a deeply flawed view of their teams, organizations and colleagues.In a recent Leadership program one young leader
was facing a great deal of push back from their boss. They were being told they hadn’t worked hard enough to master a new software program and as a result caused a slow down in the team project. The young leader was upset and blamed the boss for not spending enough time with them to learn the software properly. There was a definite disconnect for the leader and they reached out for help.
Five Actions For Leaders To Take When Their Work World Is Imploding:
1. Look At The Workplace Truthfully
When leaders are sensing or being told that they are not performing at their best, they need to take a deep breath and look at the truth. If we really want to grow in our careers
we have to be honest about why a boss or colleague is giving us constructive feedback. This is not a time to judge others but rather an opportunity to piece together the concerns impacting our jobs. Make a list of both your issues and the areas brought up by others. Decide what is true
. When leaders look truthfully at their challenges in their workplaces they see opportunities to grow. CLICK TO TWEET
2. Prioritize The Challenges
Sometimes there is more than one place we want to become stronger leaders. That means we need to review our list and ask ourselves what are the priorities
for us as well as the team. To prioritize think about: What is the most important team project on my plate right now? Which areas do I need to grow most? Can I put any of these challenges on hold for a bit? How can I gain new skills to become a more impactful team member?
3. Choose Who To Reach Out For Help
Asking for help is one of the most important actions leaders can take in resolving their challenges. We don’t have to figure everything out ourselves. Instead look around and decide who could provide you with the best guidance in overcoming some of the obstacles. Who seems approachable?
Who seems to have a similar work style so it may be easier to connect? Ultimately we all need to build networks of support- colleagues and bosses who we can turn to when faced with roadblocks. Asking for help is an important action for leaders to take to face challenges. CLICK TO TWEET
4. Stay Open and Curious
When we sit down with our chosen advisers we need to have an open-minded mindset. If we go into these discussions with a “know-it-all” attitude we will never be able to accomplish any learning. How do leaders stay curious? Before beginning any discussion be prepared by doing your research of what you may need to change. Try not to be defensive. Instead think of this feedback as a gift to grow. Conjure up a childhood view of just being curious. Build rapport by asking questions and being grateful for the input. Remember you chose them.
5. Create A Clear Plan and Direction
The final action for leaders to take is to draw up a plan filled with steps to take and timeframes to accomplish them. This will become a working document to refer back to as you meet target deadlines as well as learn new leadership skills. Keep in mind the plan may keep evolving
as organizational priorities change. What actions have you taken to face a challenge or roadblock? Did you find taking action empowering?