Last week, I sat down with the always inspiring Tricia Naddaff, President of Management Research Group (MRG), our long-time research partner. We had a terrific conversation about leadership, motivation and why too many of us are set up to fail. You can watch the webinar here.
Here are my top 3 takeaways:
1) Leadership Expectations are Higher than Ever Before
Ever had the feeling like you’re barely keeping your head above water when it comes to being on top of your leadership game? If your answer is a resounding YES, fear not. It’s not just you. Expectations and demands on leaders have increased exponentially over the years. The “perfect” leader balances both a results-orientation with a people-orientation with ease. Or at least, that’s what we’re told. The problem is that most of us tend to lean more in one direction or the other. And that’s not because we’re bad leaders…that’s neuroscience. Our brain has a neural see-saw that shifts focus between the rational brain and the emotional brain. When our focus is in one area, the other area quietens down. From MRG’s research, fewer than 5% of leaders effectively balance both. The expression ‘you can’t go it alone’ has never been truer. It’s critical that we look at leadership as a collective, vs. an individual effort.
2) Change and Uncertainty Require Clarity and Focus
Leadership is highly situational. Your approach to leading your team may work great in one scenario but be less effective in another. The pandemic has caused most leaders to have to adapt their approach to help their employees navigate not only changes in our places of work but also in how we work and the uncertainty and unpredictability that comes from a rampant virus. As we continue to navigate through the waves of Covid-19 and the brain fog that’s coming with it (anyone else feel like they’re in a perpetual Ground Hog Day?), Tricia recommended that leaders put their attention to three key behaviours: clarity of communication; chunking down deadlines into shorter term deliverables; and, recalibrating priorities on a regular basis. With so much uncertainty, leaders can help their teams (and themselves) by keeping things clear, simple and as short-term as possible. This will reduce stress at a time where so many things are out of our control and help people feel a sense of accomplishment in a time of unpredictability.
3) Psychological Safety is the Linchpin
In order to move from our “heroic” model of leadership to a collective model of leadership, organizations will have to double down on cultivating psychological safety. Vulnerability enables growth and the future of our organizations will depend on leaders and teams being able to lean in and support each other as expectations and demands increase. For individuals, a relentless drive to deepen our understanding of self and curiosity about our internal motivators and impacts on others will be the true key to unlocking our own potential and the potential of those around us. The mantra ‘never let them see you sweat’ won’t serve today’s leaders. Instead, ‘let’s all sweat it together and come out stronger’ is a better way to go.
This was such an engaging conversation. If you’d like to deepen your own self insight, consider our Personal Leadership Plan kickstart series or, if you’re at a career juncture, Personal Directions. Both programs leverage MRG’s world class assessments and are guaranteed to help you close that knowing-to-doing gap. Contact Shelby for more details and include the code TRICIA to receive 25% off the retail rates.
Next up, I’ll be talking to my colleague Liane Davey, author of the book The Good Fight about everything teams. Liane is a ton of fun and one of the smartest people I know, so don’t miss it. Register here.
Our spring Roundtable for Leaders signature program is now sold out. If you are interested in joining the wait list for our Fall offering, you can apply here.
PS – Don’t forgot to grab a copy of my new book The Grassroots Leadership Revolution to get tips on managing your career and building a network of support