None of us operate at 100% of our potential, 100% of the time. There is always room to learn more, to behave with greater cognizance and deliberation, and to be the well-developed leader who is fully utilizing his/her talents, skills, and abilities.
The question is how do you get to a state of optimal performance? The things that derail executives are largely fixable. If left unchecked, however, they can lead to a stalled, stuck, or blown career trajectory.
In our experience, there are 7 overarching leadership roadblocks. In this blog, only 3 roadblocks will be discussed. In the next blog (Part II), the remaining four roadblocks will be explored.
1. Cultural Insensitivity
We all know that the first 120 days of new employment is a time of greatest vulnerability. Not adapting to an organization’s unique culture may result in unrecoverable ineffectiveness. Not learning the nuances of the company’s culture shows a lack of awareness, commitment, or worse, respect.
Remedy: Ask versus tell. Be inquisitive of differences in behavioral norms. Also, take the time to learn about how the company’s culture really works, without immediately being critical or judgmental.
2. Underdeveloped Leadership Competencies
Nothing derails the forward progress of a function or company faster than a person who is clearly overwhelmed and uncertain. Indications include: unclear long-range plans, lack of organizational clarity, lacking resourcefulness, fear of confronting difficult people or issues, disproportionately tactical vs. strategic thinking, and elongated decision-making.
Remedy: Invest in Executive Onboarding with a senior executive coach to help this executive create pragmatic strategies that accelerate his contributions and build widespread organizational endorsement.
3. Narrow Behavioral Response Repertoire
All of us have our own well-established behavioral repertoire (or skill set / habits) of interacting with people and situations. Persons who have a narrow behavioral response repertoire will be most comfortable with the status quo that would require only limited behavioral stretches. Accordingly, risk adverse leaders would tend to make snap judgments and possibly be defensive to protect their desire to not change their thinking or behavior.
Remedy: Have a different viewpoint. Take a risk. Experiment with behaviors that might be seen as edgy. Push yourself to grow beyond the scope of what you thought possible. Ask – “Tell me more!”
Adopt the adage by Neale Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”