Most leaders are firing on all cylinders. All drive and no down time—running way too long and hard.
The problem is full speed is not sustainable.
Slowing down is scary, because it requires us to be introspective, to shut off our need to feel “needed” and “in-demand”. As leaders, we cannot afford to live our lives in constant motion. Our relationships and work is way too important for us just to push ourselves to the brink of breaking down. We need time to reflect, refocus and refuel.
But when we are moving at speedway speeds we can easily lose perspective. We're so caught up in our employees having all they need, investors being satisfied with our quarterly numbers, and people staying engaged with our mission, it feels like there’s no time for “just being”.
We must perform, because people are counting on us, and there’s only 40 hours in the work week, or more, if you’re anything like the average CEO or small business owner working overtime to get where you want to be.
There’s so much to think about and manage that at times, we forget entirely to check in with ourselves. Busyness gives us the reward of false importance and it’s easy to miss the fact that our soul is slowly slipping away from solid ground.
No leader is perfect, and the pressure is enormous to appear bulletproof to others. The great myth in business and life is that leaders are infallible. It’s easy for those who we manage to believe it, but it becomes very dangerous if we fall prey to this thinking ourselves.
Here are 5 questions to check on your leadership health.
- Am I growing apathetic about things that are usually important to me?
- Do I get short-tempered or angry at simple requests?
- Am I holding a tight grip on projects that are outside of my scope of experience?
- Do I question my employees or coworker’s loyalty to me unnecessarily?
- Am I beginning to resist the checks and balances put in place to make me accountable?
Each of these are tough questions to answer honestly. They reveal insecurities, power struggles, and potential weak points in your leadership strategy. One thing you can do to ensure you have a good perspective, is to find a mentor or close friend who you trust, and ask them each of these questions about yourself.
Surround yourself with trusted advisors who see you in an honest light. Their perspective is worth its weight in gold, because they aren’t operating under the assumption that you are infallible. They accept you for flaws and are willing to direct you to better health. The thing leaders most fear is that being transparent will render them unqualified to lead in the eyes of others. This is false.
Being transparent about your flaws with the right people is one of the biggest indicators to your future success as a leader. If you have the humility to examine yourself in an honest light, you will go far. This is part of what it means to be a Coaching Leader.
Break the stereotype that leaders have to be perfect. Ultimately the only person holding you to that standard, is you. John Brandon who shares tips from 20 leadership expertsfor Inc.com says this:
Good leaders all have one thing in common: They know how to seek advice. It's a bit like parenting. No one who raises a child for the first time understands the job perfectly. You have to keep learning and growing.
To your excellence in improving your leadership health,