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4 Leadership Lessons That Leaders Say They Wish They Had Learned Sooner

Source | | Jeff Boss

As a leadership coach, I often see the same leadership challenges arise across industries. There’s the challenge of time (there’s never enough of it), decision making, navigating organizational politics (which is really a trust issue), creating a shared purpose, communicating across silos and, of course, the dreaded accountability factor (which is typically absent).

No matter what industry you’re in, there are certain performance measures that must occur if you are to move the ball forward. There needs to be leadership that governs and guides direction and behavior—and not just “up there” but at the individual employee level, as well. There needs to be trust before there’s candor so your team can optimize how it communicates and, therefore, produce work. There needs to be information sharing so people understand context and intent which allow them to make their own decisions.

However, achieving these are easier said than done. While not an all-inclusive list, below are four common lessons that I hear leaders say they wish they had learned sooner:

There is no work/life balance.

Stop chasing it. The whole work/life balance thing doesn’t exist if you’re ambitious, motivated and hungry. You can’t get to the next level, achieve your goals or pursue your dreams if you’re only playing 50% of the time. To do what you love and love what you do takes work—a lot of work. I certainly didn’t become a SEAL because I had “balance.” Instead, what I had was an obsession. I had a goal and was obsessed with achieving it. As a result, I created impact in my life and in my work. Think of the work and life domains as existing along a spectrum where one day requires more effort at work and another demands more attention at home. Obviously, the challenge is when work demands all your attention such that it takes away from your impact at home. Accept it. Stop fighting it. You can’t chase both dragons. That’s why setting decision-making boundaries for yourself and your team is so important because boundaries reduce the sense of enormity and overwhelm caused by uncertainty. Speaking of decisions…

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