As a leader, you are both the observer and the observed.
You are being observed, even when you are:
- Losing confidence, doubting yourself and questioning your capacity to live up to your personal aspirations, and the often-elevated expectations of the role. This feeling is often called the ‘imposter syndrome’.
- Lacking energy and focus, overwhelmed and distracted by the weight of responsibility and breadth and depth of issues. Emotionally drained and physically tired, you are trapped in the busyness of your life, working long hours but never seeming to make progress, working meeting to meeting, email to email.
- The results are not coming, despite setting goals and working hard., and when they do, it provides just the smallest respite, often serving to mask the real issues, personally and in the context of your team.
- Dealing with the complexity of leadership. Layered issues within your team that seem unresolvable, behaviours that are clearly outside of the purported values of the organisation, lacking accountability for actions and outcomes. Meanwhile, you’re struggling for ideas, inspiration and drive to fix it.
- Feeling isolated and exposed. You were once part of the team, now it feels like it’s just you, increasingly distanced from your team, and often, your personal support structures.
Often you are struggling and do not know where to get help without showing weakness. There is also the vulnerability of ‘not-knowing’, that sense of uncertainty, unsure of whether you have what it takes to turn-it-around, personally and organisationally.
It can feel like you are playing an unfamiliar game. Past successes have not equipped you for your current challenge. You are trapped in this cycle, when trying harder will simply not be enough.
While the focus is often on the results, or lack thereof, it is my belief, that leaders need to be more concerned about their current trajectory, than their current results.
These scenarios are unlikely to end well for the leader, their team, or the organisation.
In my experience, problems arise when too much time is spent articulating goals, and not enough time designing systems.
As a result I have established a leadership operating system, known as Performance Trust. This process is less about goals, it focuses on the systems that embed high-performance habits. We match ambition with capability.
Goals are about the results you are seeking to achieve, while the systems are the processes that will take you there.
With the same habits, we will end up with the same results – good and bad.
Achieving a goal is momentary, high-performance habits last a lifetime.