Too many leaders today are leaders in title only. They don’t possess relevant skills, and they read book after book or attend seminars to tell themselves that they are indeed strong leaders. These leaders lack conviction in their teams or often fail to see how their misuse of their “leadership skills” only demoralize or make teams feel powerless and unappreciated.
What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens is one of my favorite leadership books that I have read in quite a while. They acknowledge that too many “leaders” don’t understand how they are holding themselves and their teams back. Sadly, these same leaders have no idea what the top leadership misconceptions are and what to do about them. By not recognizing how they are holding others back, entire teams and companies are underperforming and lack the ability to empowering people.
The authors offer tools, strategies, and stories about how blind spots have an adverse impact. Only 30% of our workforce is actively engaged, and that hasn’t changed for years. It won’t change until authentic leaders recognize their blind spots and engage in restoring purpose, engagement, and connection.
Here are the 5 leadership misconceptions that hold leaders back:
1. Purpose: Too few organizations operate purposefully. This adversely impacts people, profits, and growth. The authors share how to build a strong purpose statement that will resonate with teams and aren’t just words. Make purpose personal and be passionate about the purpose, not the numbers.
2. Story: Too many companies think that they have an unusual and compelling story to tell that everyone wants to hear. You don’t. Leaders have it in their heads but can’t articulate it to anyone else. What do you need to do? Proactively close the gap between what you say and what you mean. Also, don’t let your stories kill your strategies. Last, don’t place foolish emphasis on WIIFM.
3. Engagement: Let’s face it. Enough companies today encourage little to no participation within the organization or with teams. They don’t listen to what their people want or even really care. ASK what your people need. Focus on the emotional versus the rational. The authors suggest using dialogue to reach the hearts and minds of your people. Last, flip the switch for your people. Take the challenges of the organization to your teams and listen.
4. Trust: Too many leaders think that people won’t do the right thing unless what they are told what to do. Make priorities clear, invite people to use their strengths, and embrace human variability rather than reduce it. Clear-headed leaders clarify hard lines, guidelines, and no lines to make the complex simple.
5. Truth: Let’s face it. Many leaders don’t want to hear the truth. They feel safer living in a world where what they think is right and think they know what is best for everyone. Wrong. Teams need to feel like they are heard and leaders care. People want to know the truth. Don’t let rumors and a lack of communication rule the day. Use humor every day because it breaks down barriers and walls. People feel safer. Make it a priority to create a truth-telling culture. Be committed and don’t waver. As Haudan and Berens share, “To thyself be true, and others will follow.”
Leaders at all levels need to understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses. Too many fear to see the truth. We all need to be aware of the leadership misconceptions that plague us every day to grow as leaders and bring our teams along as authentic leaders. Pick up a copy of Blind Spots today!