As leaders, we often get so caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities that we forget to think about how we come across to the people around us, and how their actions, communications and concerns may be driven by their perception of the persona we put forward. When was the last time you took a long gaze in the leadership looking glass? Are you showing up at work as your authentic self or is there a mask that gets in the way? In honor of Halloween, let’s look at some typical masks a leader might wear. Do you recognize yourself in any of them?
The Super Hero
You have confidence, boundless energy and can seemingly handle any problem that comes your way (“Bring it on, tall buildings!”) You are protective of your team. In your need for speed you often charge ahead with activities that could be delegated.
While your team may admire your ability to “handle it all,” they’d like the chance to solve issues and take on more responsibilities and, perhaps, risks themselves. They may be hesitant to give you honest feedback or make alternative suggestions as you appear to have it all under control.
You’re distracted right now – could be the job, could be personal issues – and your mind seems to be on another planet. You’re communicating less frequently with your team, and you appear out of touch with their projects and issues.
Your team is wondering where you parked the UFO. They miss their leader, and are frustrated with the gap left by no clear direction.
Your lack of communication has made them stop trying. Some are considering
You may ask for ideas and input, but in the end you like things “your way.”
You have tendency to redo your team’s work rather than discuss or give them constructive
feedback because it’s faster and, well, you know how it should be done. You sing “I Did It My Way” in the shower.
Your team is beginning to lose confidence in their skills and ability to make an impact. They’re hesitant to make suggestions because they know they’ll be rejected or ignored. Some are beginning to wonder why they show up at all.
You’re not happy at work right now and it shows in your attitude. You snap at team members and colleagues, you have no patience for work that is less than what you expected or later than when it was due, no matter the reason. You delegate as much as possible. You’re frequently unavailable.
Your team is feeling overworked and underappreciated. You appear unapproachable so they’re afraid to communicate their thoughts and feelings to you. The less you communicate with your team, the less they communicate with each other. The silos have been built, and collaboration is not a priority.
At Halloween you can put on a mask and be whoever you want to be. But Halloween is one day. The rest of the year you need to remove the mask and be a strong, dependable, and visionary leader. Only then will you be able to move yourself, your team and your organization forward.
Till next time,
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