Nobody sets out to be a bad boss.
Yet it happens.
According to the authors of Mastering Leadership, 75% of leaders have what they call – a reactive leadership style.
It’s this reactive leadership style the builds silos, undermines strategy, and damages culture.
Most leaders are more worried about keeping their heads down, protecting what they have, and making themselves look good, then doing what’s right for the people, organizations, and clients that they serve.
Why does this happen?
The answer as to why this happens has to do with how we evolve as humans.
When we start our careers, we desire to become a thriving member of society.
We choose a path, build domain knowledge, and develop relationships.
We learn the rules of our culture and realize that to get along, we must go along.
It’s this unconscious desire to fit-in and be successful that is both a blessing and a curse.
This works for us in the short-term because it enables us to earn money, promotions, recognition, and other extrinsic rewards because of our hard work and expertise.
However, after we’ve earned the money and the promotions, we wonder why we still feel unsatisfied.
Outside In & Inside Out
The reason we are unhappy and restless is that our identity has been shaped from the outside in.
We’ve set aside our dreams and desires to fit-in and earn extrinsic rewards like money and recognition.
True fulfilment and happiness occur when we start building our identity from the inside out.
Only when we focus on intrinsic rewards, like purpose and meaning, do we begin to be truly satisfied.
It’s like we’ve spent years climbing the corporate ladder only to realize that the ladder has been leaning on the wrong wall.
3 Ways To Get Unstuck
Here are three ways to get unstuck …
1) Turn your reactive leadership style it a strength.
When we are stressed, overwhelmed, or under pressure to perform, we have a tendency to use our reactive leadership style.
A reactive leadership style consists of a default set of habits and behaviours that keeps us stuck and limits our growth as a leader.
Our reactive leadership style is a blind spot – an area where we refuse to see the reality of a situation – usually due to a lack of awareness or cognitive bias.
Your blind spot can severely limit your ability to be an effective leader in both your personal and professional life.
To get unstuck, we need to shine a light on our blind spot by developing self-awareness around how we show up as a leader – when it counts the most.
I’ve created a short assessment to help you identify your blind spot.
Each assessment will help you uncover your reactive leadership style and provide an action plan to turn your blind spot into a strength.
You can find the assessment here.
2) Unlearn negative habits + learn positive habits.
To get unstuck, we need to unlearn the negative habits of bad bosses and learn the positive habits of great leaders.
There are two resources inside The Great Leaders Guide to help you create positive habits.
The first is The 7 Skills of Great Leaders, where I walk you through the skills and behaviours that are required as you progress through each stage.
The second is The Great Leaders One Page Blueprint.
The one-page blueprint is the step-by-step process that you can use to build confidence and overcome your reactive leadership style.
It’s been designed to help you intentionally craft your leadership style from the inside out.
3) Practice self-compassion.
The reason that 75% of leaders never move beyond their reactive leadership style is that they are afraid.
They are afraid to take risks, to make mistakes, and to look foolish.
To get unstuck requires us to step out of our comfort zones, embrace new ways of thinking, and develop new skills.
This requires up to let go of control, be vulnerable, and admit that we don’t have all the answers.
I know that I can be pretty hard on myself.
And when things don’t work out correctly, I can be my own worst critic.
When this happens, I need to remind myself to practice self-compassion.
Self-compassion means treating ourselves with respect, kindness and understanding when we fail or feel inadequate.
When a close friend or loved one stumble, most of us find it very easy to provide support and encouragement.
And, amazingly, we tend to do the exact opposite when we make a mistake by calling ourselves an idiot or stupid.
So next time you mess up, realize that we are all human, and treat yourself like you would your best friend.
With 75% of leaders at the reactive or stuck stage, chances are we may fall into the “bad boss” category at times.
The reason we have become stuck is that we’ve created reactive habits and behaviours from the outside in.
And the secret to getting unstuck is to start crafting our identity from the inside out.
To begin, identify your reactive leadership style by taking the blind spot assessment.
Us the one-page blueprint to intentionally transform your blind spot into a strength.
And finally, when you step out of your comfort zone, go easy on yourself and practise self-compassion.
Let’s level-up our leadership!
How Great Leaders Become Great Leaders
FREE DOWNLOAD: The Step-by-Step Guide for New Managers, Team Leaders, and Change Agents to Lead with Confidence