Leadership Doesn’t Rest on Your Title nytimes.com
Terri Ludwig, a Wall Street veteran who now leads a nonprofit organization, says that all employees can learn to influence its direction. Do you have what it takes to lead from your seat? Read more …
Who was your favorite boss, coach or teacher? Your tough situation that turned out to be your greatest inspiration? I’ll bet you could tell some stories … well, here’s mine from a recent post I wrote for Leaders at The LeadChange Group Blog:
Some of the most powerful leadership lessons I’ve experienced have not come from my high school swim coach, my first inspirational boss or any leadership guru at all. One of the first teachers of my most powerful lessons in what makes great leaders great weighed in at just over a thousand pounds, had four legs, a tail and really big teeth, which he never brushed.
His name was Banjo and he was a horse … of course, of course.
Early on, I struggled, often for hours, trying to get Banjo into the horse trailer so we could go somewhere, a trail ride, the vet or moving from California to Colorado. I would start out calmly, then as he got more stubborn, putting two front feet in then flying out backwards as fast as he could run, I would get frustrated, then angry and then … well, let’s just say I tried all the tricks in the book; coercion, threats, intimidation, pressure and yes, pain. Do these old-style management tactics sound familiar?
An old, scruffy, wise cowboy helped me see the writing in the dirt. After working with Banjo for just a few minutes, then loading him easily several times, he politely tipped his hat to me and said, “Excuse me ma’am. If I can say … what you have here is not a loading problem, it’s a leading problem.”
What you have here is not a loading problem, it’s a leading problem.
A brutal a blow to my “know it all” ego, but he was right. Horses are prey animals and herd animals, who follow trustworthy leaders instinctively. I was not a trustworthy leader in Banjo’s eyes. Being a predator, we were already at odds. Trailers are caves. What lives in caves? Bears, cougars and other predators who eat horses. I was an angry predator to Banjo, with unpredictable emotions and not an ounce of empathy to try to see the world through his eyes.
From that moment on, the lesson “You can judge the quality of your communication by the response you get” became crystal clear. It was my responsibility to take 100% ownership in the quality of my communication … and ask for a “do -over.”
Lucky for me horses are very forgiving creatures … and in my eyes, the most powerful teachers I could ever ask for.
Who have been your most unlikely, yet powerful teachers?[sharebox4 sharetext=”Share This Page”] [/sharebox4]
Is the use of coaching to develop leaders or high potential managers into leadership roles just a passing fad or here to stay? If it’s here to stay, wouldn’t it be more effective for coaches to teach managers and leaders how to coach or to develop a coaching style of management and leadership than for a coach to “coach one leader or manager at a time?” Developing a sustainable leader would include “teaching him to fish” rather than “fishing for him” in my opinion. What are your thoughts on the topic of the efficacy of leadership coaching in organizations?
The 5 Biggest Challenges for Leaders Today are:
1. Communicating the vision
2. Doing more with less
3. Achieving Work/Life balance
4. Resolving team conflict
5. Willingness to understand myself, my beliefs and values and
knowing how to elicit that information from my team so they, too,
can be inspired by the organization’s purpose to achieve our
The first four are “standard” … you’ve seen them before … no
surprises, right? The last one, #5 or Inter-personal and
Intra-personal (or Emotional) Intelligence is one of the most significant competencies
in a successful leader or manager and is key to becoming a sustainable
leader, one who is built to last, harnesses the potential of themselves and others and with that drives positive change.
Where can leaders and leaders-to-be get stronger in this area?
(Hint: You won’t find it in any MBA curriculum). Let an
experienced professional assist you to get the psychological edge
in your career.
Contact me today to arrange your confidential, no-obligation
coaching session to set yourself apart and to become a
Sustainable Leader who adds exponential value to your organization.
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Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges. One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of the position (McClelland, 1985).
Power stress is considered to be part of the experience resulting from exercising this influence and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.
Richard Boyatzis (2006), Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, who has written over 100 articles and authored six books in the subject, several with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and published numerous studies in the field of leadership, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, proposes that leaders who are able to develop others through adopting a coaching engagement, are able to significantly lower this stress at a neurological level, which in turn has a positive ripple effect for the coachee, the coach, the coachee’s peers, customers and the organization as a whole.
Get free resources to find out how you can lower your stress level with tools to easily engage in a conversation focused on developing others at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.