Our own worst enemy…

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best help leaders develop their teams since I’ve been focused on this work for the past ten years. What stands out for me is the ease with which we create “social threat” for others (you can also call this dis-stress). Just the nature of your role as a leader or manager can initiate a significant level of stress on your direct reports. Even the best managers create low level (hopefully manageable) threat for their teams, which is actually OK. Threat, in and of itself, is not the enemy. Overwhelming threat is. The kind of threat that results in people doing and saying things that, later on, they wish they hadn’t done and said.

One of the best ways to combat what I’ll call “unnecessary threat” is to take a more coach-like approach with your teams. This is brain-friendly in a number of ways. In his research, Richard Boyatzis (http://weatherhead.case.edu/faculty/richard-boyatzis) cites coaching as a way of halting and even reversing the effects of “power stress” on leaders. That’s a pretty powerful notion.

It’s also amazing to me how easy it is for managers and leaders who know and believe this to still be overly directive in their leadership approach. Again, I “blame” the brain along with a lower level of self-awareness (how’s that for provocative?!). We’re not always aware of how directive we are being. It’s also energy efficient AND feels good to tell people what to do. It’s rewarding for us, but it’s not as rewarding for our people.

So I think the best leaders understand the nature of mindfulness, have courage, are abundance-focused, and are able to practice delayed gratification. We can have a chat to discuss all of this.

Or if you don’t believe me, ask your people. (If you dare.)

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