How to Prevent Prevent Leadership Failure
Are you working in an organization where leaders at the top derail? Do the leaders in your organization display personality characteristics that can lead failure?
One of the most powerful questions one can ask oneself is Am I working in a company where leaders are psychological minded and self aware? Inspiring leaders are aware of any personality characteristics that can lead to failed leadership.
Are you a leader who regularly exercises sound judgment? Are you able to create a high performance workplace by creating a workplace climate where people are fully engaged and are trusted by the workforce?
Preventing Executive Failure
There are no universal means for preventing failures, except perhaps for being alert for the warning signals that appear. In all cases of executive failures there have been warning signs that people chose not to heed.
Business people like to think of themselves as realists, but the fact is that wishful thinking, denial, and other forms of avoiding reality are deeply embedded in most corporate cultures.
How to Fight Executive Failure
Review the common causes of derailment with an executive coach. Chances are you will recognize some of them as part of your personality. In fact, some of these characteristics serve you well in getting ahead in your organization.
Here are three things you can do to take a closer, realistic look at your dark side.
1. Do an adversity analysis. Take a long hard look at your five biggest failures in your career. Ask yourself the following questions:
What behaviors in these circumstances did not serve you well?
What would your worst critics say about how you acted?
Do you see a theme or pattern in your behaviors?
Do any of the potential derailers fit this pattern?
In what way did you contribute to the failure?
2. Do a feedback session with your direct reports. Ask them to report to you with brutal honesty about your behaviors. This can be delivered to you in the form of a confidential anonymous report, or delivered as a group in person, but you must reassure them that nothing will be held against them and follow through with this promise. Ask them these questions:
What do I do that drives you nuts?
How do I force you to work around me rather than with me?
When you get together to complain about me, what do you complain about?
When I am under stress, what do I do that you think is counter-productive?
3. Work with your own coach, mentor, or trusted confident. An external coach works well for reviewing your dark side, as they are non-judgmental, professionally trained, and not politically involved with your organization. In order to get value from talking with someone, you must have complete trust in the person and process. You must be willing to expose your vulnerabilities in order to grow beyond your usual psychological defenses. Just knowing that other CEOs and executives have these common derailers and that they are not unusual can make it easier to admit them and learn how to manage them.
Working with a seasoned executive coach trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating leadership assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i and CPI 260 can help you become an inspiring leader who displays the characteristics of good leadership. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence, and who inspires people to become happily engaged with the strategy and vision of the company.
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Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams.
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