How confident are you in your leadership skills?
In my more than 20 years of experience with startups, I have not seen a case where a company manages to reach its full potential without a model leader.
Of course, there is a cases where businesses fail, despite the enormous efforts of excellent managers. However, if the leaders in your company are not doing well, then your business simply has no chance.
Effective leadership, despite the millions of dollars and hours invested in its teaching, is not extremely difficult to understand. One recognizes it when one sees it, and feels its absence when it does not exist (or at least is not qualitative). Reference: “Management and leadership style“, https://www.kievpress.info/management-and-leadership-style/
In most cases, the last person to recognize the deteriorating quality of governance is the leader himself. When a person is on top, he may lose sight of what is happening at the foot.
For this reason, it is important to be aware of what stage of your leadership development you are in and how to stay in the right zone for as long as possible.
This is the phase for people who have recently taken on a managerial role. You have been promoted, but you have not yet built a reputation as a leader and have not earned the trust of your subordinates. At this stage, mistakes and bad decisions are obvious. However, the way you deal with the consequences of them is the thing that helps you move to the next phase.
This includes people who have already proven themselves as leaders. With that comes the privilege of making bad decisions and making mistakes in the name of progress. Leaders in this phase can count on almost boundless trust and respect. Reference: “To be a leader means to be awake”, https://www.policymatters.net/to-be-a-leader-means-to-be-awake/ If you lead your team to the abyss, everyone will probably prefer to blame the rock for the impending fall rather than direct their anger at you.
You have taken on the role of leader for too long and the confidence in you and your abilities has begun to evaporate. This vase usually comes after a high turnover in the ranks, major business changes, or an uncontrolled accumulation of mistakes and bad decisions.
In almost every case where someone comes to me with a complaint like “I think I’m a bad leader” or “I’m afraid our boss doesn’t know what he’s doing,” the problem comes down to one of two reasons:
- The leader is in the first stage, but he behaves as if he has already moved on to the second
- The leader is in the third stage, but he believes that he is still in the second
How to recognize warning signs
The bad news, as I said, is that leaders are usually the last to know how bad their governance is. To reduce the risk of finding yourself in such a position, you need to watch out for a few warning signs:
You suffer from low confidence
Loss of confidence is easy to recognize, as long as one is willing to look in the mirror and be honest with oneself about what one sees. However, restoring that same confidence is a much more complicated process because it is different for each person. There is one thing I know for sure – admitting that you are no longer confident in your abilities is the first step to regaining your confidence.
You have surrendered
One of my mentors, who I hope will not read this, suddenly called me about 15 years ago, trying to lure me to work for his company. At the time, I wasn’t looking for a job, but I agreed to a meeting because I wanted to know how things were going in his life. It turned out that the man I considered a true god in leadership now held a position in the middle management of an impersonal corporation.
When I asked him why and how he got there, he smiled and said, “This is a great place to hide.” From that day on, I saw this same scenario unfold with over ten good leaders who, over time, began to hide behind closed doors or on various corporate boards.
If you find yourself beginning to give up your leadership responsibilities and give up more and more responsibilities, you need to remember why you ever wanted to take on that leadership role and return to the forefront.
You have imposed a tyrannical regime
This is the easiest sign to recognize. If you act like an idiot, the most normal thing is for people to start losing confidence in your leadership skills.
Every leader is subjected to a very high workload, and this stress sometimes makes people do things that are unfamiliar to them. When you are in top shape, you have achieved balance in the second stage of leadership, the stress simply does not stay with you. When you don’t have the strength to deal with failures, or you’ve lost the magic that seems to have made things work out the way you want them to, you can start making it happen to others.
The worse you treat your colleagues and subordinates, the deeper the hole you will find yourself in. Stop before it’s too late.
Whether you are a green leader trying to orient yourself in your new responsibilities, or a veteran who has lost touch with reality, solving your problems goes through creating or restoring confidence in your abilities.