Is being comfortable as a leader important to you? If so, you may be doing it wrong.
Leadership is all about taking the big risks while ensuring everyone around you succeeds. True leadership is a very tough job. Failure is common for the leader, and support is plentiful for the team. But this failure and constant support taxes less-resilient leaders. If you’re not a resilient leader you’re likely a comfortable leader.
Break out of your comfort zone and evolve. Leadership isn’t for the weak, cowardly, or emotionally immature. You’re leading others, working with them the better part of their day, and have significant impact in their lives… you need to take your responsibility seriously and always strive to be the best leader possible. Break out of your comfort-zone!
- Ensure everyone you surround yourself with is smarter and more capable than you. Hire experts. If you’re threatened by expertise then you need to reflect and ask yourself why. The right person for the role will always be the right hire. They should be challenged but capable. Overqualified and underqualified are very subjective terms. What I’m suggesting is that you want a little of each. You want someone overqualified so that they’re experts where you need the expertise… but underqualified in aspects so that they have opportunity to grow and learn. Your job is to let them be experts, break down what barriers you can, and support them without limitations. If you have an expert reporting to you and you have conflict with them, it’s a YOU problem. Either they’ve outgrown their role and you’re failing to promote/move them, or you have control issues. This assumes you’ve hired the right person. Do not blame “culture”… personality has little to do with compatibility or success, emotional maturity and communication do.
- Always break the box. Few leadership roles are meant to keep things running without change. I’d even state that they are more likely managers versus leaders. Leaders are defined as: those that create and secure a new path for others to follow. You should be creating new ways to take and manage risks. Your failures help your team grow. Show them how to follow a fearless leader, but by leading an example that failure is to be expected. Teaching others how to fail by planning is an art and science. Not good at this? Get a leadership coach! You can master this, and you should. It’s your job.
- Don’t let conflict change your path. Not all changes or risks come with an obvious or easy path. Most people are risk adverse and change resistant, despite what they proclaim. I’ve met CEOs who hire change agents only to discount their advice and maintain the same course. They want a different result in their company, but cannot accept change beyond their comfort zone. You can always take baby-steps… but you get what you give. You want a quicker result? You have to take bigger risks, and make bigger changes.
- Do not think hierarchy matters, ever. If you do, you’re a manager, not a leader. Leaders see their team as peers and experts grouped together for a purpose. Yes, having one person make final decisions is needed at times, so roles within your leadership title exist. But if you manage solely by these roles than you’re just that… a manager.