In my previous blog on developing leadership effectiveness, we explored the key principles leaders must acquire as they ascend the leadership ladder, emphasizing the importance of learning new skills and mindsets while letting go of old ones.
This article highlights 6 specific mindsets and behaviors that leaders must shed to become more effective. We conclude with a simple 5 step strategy to help you sustain the motivation and support to be successful in enhancing your leadership effectiveness. By making these important shifts leaders can foster growth, empower their teams, and adapt to the evolving demands of leadership.
Six behaviors to let go of:
Micromanagement is a common pitfall for many leaders, particularly those who have risen through the ranks as individual contributors. As leaders ascend the leadership ladder, they must let go of the need for excessive control and empower their teams to take ownership of their work. By trusting their team members’ capabilities and providing them with autonomy, leaders can foster a culture of accountability, innovation, and growth that is monitored by the individuals and teams (not the manager). Effective delegation and empowerment are critical to achieving long-term success.
2. Sole Reliance on Technical Expertise:
Leaders who have excelled in specific technical domains often find it challenging to let go of their reliance on their expertise. However, as they move up the leadership ladder, they must broaden their focus beyond technical proficiency and develop both a strategic and systems mindset.
Letting go of the comfort zone of technical expertise allows leaders to see the bigger picture, make better informed decisions, and guide their teams towards organizational goals. Leaders should focus on developing a diverse range of skills, including strategic thinking, communication, and people management.
3. Reluctance to Delegate:
Leaders who are reluctant to delegate tend to hold on to tasks and decisions, hindering their own effectiveness and limiting their team’s growth potential. To be effective, leaders must let go of the misconception that they need to be involved in every detail. Instead, they should develop the ability to identify and leverage their team members’ strengths, delegate tasks and responsibilities, and provide support when needed. By delegating effectively, leaders can free up their time to focus on higher-level responsibilities, foster professional development, and build a culture of trust within their teams.
4. Resistance to Change:
Change is an inevitable part of any organization’s growth and success. However, leaders who resist change impede progress and hinder their own development. Letting go of resistance to change involves embracing a growth mindset and recognizing that change presents opportunities for innovation, improvement, and adaptation. Effective leaders must inspire and lead by example, promoting a culture that encourages experimentation, continuous learning, and agility. By fostering a positive attitude towards change (and that failing is also learning), leaders can navigate uncertainties and guide their teams through transitions effectively.
5. Ego-Centric Mindset:
Leaders who possess an ego-centric mindset prioritize their own needs and accomplishments over those of the team or the organization. To be effective leaders, they must let go of ego-driven behaviors and cultivate a servant leadership mindset. Servant leaders prioritize the growth, well-being, and success of their team members. By focusing on supporting and developing others, leaders can create a collaborative and high-performing environment that fosters trust, engagement, and collective achievements.
6. Lack of Adaptability:
Leaders who are resistant to adapting their approaches and strategies limit their ability to respond effectively to dynamic business environments. In today’s fast-paced world, letting go of rigid mindsets and embracing adaptability is crucial. Leaders should continuously seek new perspectives, stay open to feedback, and demonstrate a willingness to adjust strategies when necessary. Fostering a culture where people asks big thinking questions help teams stay ahead through innovation instead of being overwhelmed with change.
How do I find the time and focus to make these changes?
First, consider what will it cost you if you don’t change? The impact is clear. Your workplace, teams, progress, innovation, and your career will all suffer.
Second, generate increased motivation to change, shift, and move outside of a years long patterns with these 5 steps.
1. Get honest feedback from peers and team members to identify where your challenges are. Use a 360 process or just ask.
2. What is your purpose or your reason to improve? When you are a better leader how will you feel, what will it mean to you, and how will you become? Create a visceral sense of your ‘why’ to stay motivated when it gets tough.
3. Identify some specific SMART goals for behavior or habit changes.
4. Develop a detailed action plan to achieve this. You my want to consider how your team, peers, or a coach can accelerate and support your learning and experimenting.
5. Give yourself grace and permission to experiment, fail, and try again. Remember this is not just for you; you are also being a role model for self improvement.
By letting go of the 6 hindrances outlined above, leaders can employ better strategies to empower their teams, foster autonomy and growth, and adapt to the evolving demands of leadership. Follow my 5 steps to create the motivation and a plan to succeed and improve speeds up the shift in behaviors to create a positive impact, drive organizational success, and inspire their teams to reach new heights.