As an executive leadership coach, I work firsthand with a wide range of leaders, which gives me a good perspective on the things they have in common. Here are six things that virtually every leader I’ve ever worked with does regularly, even though they thoroughly dislike them. If you’re trying to skate by these (or other important things you don’t enjoy), get in the habit of doing them anyway.
Being vulnerable. Three decades ago, I came up with the phrase Vulnerable is the new strong. Many of my coaching clients disagreed and argued that vulnerability is in fact weakness. I thought then, and still do, that if you show vulnerability, people will respect you more, honor you more and relate to you more. I’m glad to say that most of those who reluctantly went along later came around to agreeing with me.
Managing. Most leaders want to be the visionary, the one who thinks up the great ideas. Nobody wants to manage the visions through implementation. But the truth is, you cannot become an excellent leader without also knowing how to be an excellent manager. Any leader who is not a good manager risks having their vision and their team compromised by the mismanagement of others.
Giving feedback. Sharing constructive criticism is a big part of being a leader. If you can’t help people rethink what they’re doing, you’re not truly leading them. People need feedback—they need to know if what they are doing is right or if they need correction. Feedback is a valuable tool that provides direction. Given the right way, it becomes a gift.
Admitting to mistakes. All great leaders make mistakes along the way, but not many want to admit it. It takes a lot of coaching for some leaders to be able admit when they’re wrong, but the power of admitting to your mistakes is the power of your influence as a leader.
Exercising self-restraint. I’ve seen leaders who wanted to have a go at their team, their board, their stakeholders—to tell them all what they think and how they feel. But I always coach leaders not to mix bad words with a bad mood. You’ll have many opportunities to change your mood, but you can never replace the words you speak. So even if you hate it, learn self-restraint when it comes to your emotions and make sure the words you speak are intentional and thoughtful.
Failing. Leaders aren’t perfect; they have weaknesses, shortcomings and failures from time to time. Nobody likes failing. Period. Leaders, in particular, want to be known as winners. But most leaders will tell you that even though they hate failing they continue to take risks, because some of their greatest achievements, most memorable growth and most effective improvements have come from their failures.
Lead from within: There will be many things you don’t want to do as a leader. Do them anyway.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockphotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.