021: Leading with a Limp, Part 1: Become an Effective Leader with Self-Awareness
Release Date: 05/07/2019
As leaders, we all have seasons that we're leading with a limp, that is when we've suffered a leadership injury, such as a betrayal or a loss of confidence in our team. The danger is, if left unresolved, our injury can cause our attitudes to calcify into patterns of highly-charged reactions. This erodes the harmony and trust within our team and leads to an unhealthy work environment.
You may be reacting to real offenses or even betrayal from employees or colleagues, but to heal the limp, it’s imperative that you take a step back after the situation escalates to assess the real root cause. If you’ve overreacted with your team, you also need to repair any broken ties.
What to Do When Leading with a Limp
The first step is to reflect. In instances where you find your reactions getting the best of you, give yourself room to be self-aware:
- Consider the root of your response and how it found its origin. How much of your reaction was fueled by perceived offenses, real offenses, and past offenses?
- Look at the reaction from a new perspective and discern the message from the messenger.
- Review the intensity of your reaction. Did the punishment fit the crime?
Self-reflection can shed light on past experiences and betrayals that cause you to put your armor up. In doing so, you may find opportunities to repair communication with your team and revisit shared values.
Define Your Team’s Values: “This is who we are. This is how we behave.”
High-emotion situations are where core values can help. Core values are more than inspirational posters in the breakroom—they are a code of conduct. If you don’t have core values for your organization already defined, create a list of shared values that are actionable and describe specific behaviors. Useful team values will directly address how you are going to live together in harmony and pursue peace with each other. From there productivity and creativity will ultimately flow.
Rebuild the Team Relationship
If your limp has caused any over-reactions, work on rebuilding. Don’t let offenses and perceptions fall by the wayside. Some leaders by default isolate themselves after uncomfortable situations. If you’re leading a team, you can’t isolate yourself or insulate against one individual without isolating or insulating against all. You need to address the problem.
Set an example as a leader and offer a genuine apology to the person you slighted. You can go back to your team member at that moment and offer words like “I’m sorry. I overreacted. That did not come off well, and that’s not my intention toward you. That’s not how we’re committed to functioning together.” Take time to listen to the other party. If the interaction is intense, bring someone you trust—not as ammunition to defend your stance—but to mediate and hear both sides of the story.
If you recognize conflict in your team or a limp in your leadership but don’t know where to begin, let’s talk. We offer a great diagnostic tool to determine the strengths and liabilities of your organization. It’s a relatively pain-free process by which we obtain feedback from your team members to identify the roadblocks and blind spots in your pursuit of a healthy team.
Connect with me for a free, complimentary conversation about our process. It won’t cost you more than 30 minutes of your time to find out if some feedback would be valuable for you and your team.
Till next week: Better You. Better Team. Better Business. Better Life.