The best Leadership experience comes from working for average Leaders
This experience is a close runner-up to, working for great Leaders
Fortunately I have had the experience with both kinds
The single biggest trait I have experienced in great Leaders is that they “lead by example”
I know that you are rolling your eyes now because this is such a girnormous cliche in Leadership folklore
But let me please put a twirl to it …
Leading by example is NOT
- walking on a bed of burning charcoals to single-handedly solve technical, business and strategic problems
- or being perceived as the goto demigod expert who holds the key to delivering complex projects through chaos
It is rather simple and non-heroic and manifests itself as
someone, who , in the face of adversity and in the face of their own blunders , time and time again, demonstrates “emotional nimbleness”
“Emotional nimbleness” is defined as …
Constant self reflection of your public and private organisational conduct
Openly admitting and articulating your shortcomings and mistakes
And then sweating on the minute details and emotional nuances , to demonstrate measurable improvement in your organisational conduct and outcomes
Doing all of 1-3 above before holding others accountable.
Leaders who don’t have or cultivate or grow , emotional nimbleness
,will often, be stuck in the bog of
- Amplifying people’s shortcomings more than achievements( putting a facade of “the hard to please boss”, often resulting in distancing non-binary personalities (personality types very common in the Tech space)).
- Falling back on lack of time or their personality type , as an excuse not to change their mindset/behavior
- Blaming individuals for their lack of engagement rather than reflecting on whether they themselves have the skills to intrinsically motivate others ?
- Not setting demonstrateable goals & measures on how are they holding themselves accountable
Smart leaders , are much more nimble,they have adaptive people and emotional skills with a cornerstone in brutal self reflection. They focuses on changing themselves and others’ working environments before trying to change the people in those environments
How to stay “emotionally nimble” ?
Here are some tactics and practices that I have been religiously employing over the past few years , to keep myself emotionally nimble
- Make ,looking after your spiritual personality ,the same priority as your physical and business personality. Join a meet up , get a life coach or self learn using an app (https://www.headspace.com/) but make sure you put in a lot of proverbial blood and sweat into improving your spiritual side.
- Demonstrate a linkage of a change in your behavior/mind set with a self reflection and learning incident . Maintain a public company blog to articulate how & what you learnt from your mistakes or use staff meetings to broadcast what have you have actually done to not repeat your mistake(s). What ever the medium but you must ensure that you show demonstrable actions as a result of your self reflection . “Emotional nimbleness” is just MBA talk with out demonstrable and measurable change in you.
- Have a framework to reflect and learn . I use a simple checklist, that I go through mentally every day
a) Today,did I learn something new ?
b) Today,did I behave in a way that was not consistent with what I claim to be ?
c) Tomorrow, which are those 2 things that I will do to not repeat b) and ensure that answer to a) is yes
Stay nimble , stay leading from the front
Image via http://www.bbc.co.uk