Be a more effective leader ..Harvard business school
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Become a More Effective Leader by Asking One Tough Question
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What prevents us from making the changes we know will make us more effective leaders?
Great question. I may be the only executive educator who actually measures whether the participants in my leadership development courses actually do what I teach--and then measures if they are seen as becoming more effective leaders.
At the end of my sessions, I ask leaders (who have received 360-degree feedback) to follow up with their co-workers and ask for ongoing ideas about how they can continue to become more effective. A year later, about 70% do some version of this recommended follow-up (as reported by their co-workers, not by them); 30% do absolutely nothing.
I am not ashamed of these numbers. I am happy: not only are 70% of those who do their follow-up seen as becoming better leaders, the 30% who do absolutely nothing don`t get any worse!
But to your question, what prevents the 30% from making the changes they know will make them more effective leaders?
Dropping the Ball
I had the chance to interview many of the `do-nothings` with one of my clients a year later to ascertain why they had dropped the ball on their follow-up commitment.
Their answers had nothing to do with integrity, ethics, or values. The `do-nothings` were good people with good values. They were intelligent people who felt bad about not following up with their co-workers.
If it wasn`t lack of intelligence or values, why did 30% of the participants in my courses leave with the idea that they were going to put what they were taught into practice--and then let an entire year pass with no visible effort?
The answer has to do with a daydream. I have indulged in this daydream for years. In fact, you too may have had this same recurring daydream.
This daydream explains why the participants in my courses don`t end up doing what they know they should. It also probably explains why you don`t do many things in your life and career that you know you should.
The daydream goes like this:
"I am incredibly busy right now. In fact, I feel as busy as I have ever felt in my life. Sometimes my life feels a little out of control. But I am dealing with some very unique and special challenges right now. I think the worst of this will be over in a few months. Then I am going to take a couple of weeks to get organized, spend some time with my family, start my `healthy life` program, and work on personal development."
One Tough Question
Have you ever had a daydream that vaguely resembles this dream? How long have you been having this same, repetitive dream? Most leaders I meet have been having it for years.
I have learned a hard lesson trying to help real people change real behavior in the real world. The `couple of weeks` that you are fantasizing about are not going to happen. Look at the trend line. There is a good chance that tomorrow is going to be even crazier than today!
If you want to make real change, ask yourself this tough question: What am I willing to change now? Not `in a few months.` Not `when I get caught up.` Now.
List the `personal improvement` activities that you have been `planning` to do - but have not quite `got around to` yet.
Challenge yourself on each activity.
Get started on the activity within two weeks - or take it off the list - and quit tormenting yourself.
source havard business school
source havard business school