I consistently have leaders contact me who want help improving as a leader. What’s funny is, I have this leadership blog, and lots of leadership experience, but I’m still trying to improve also. I often encourage them to do something I do. One way to grow as a leader is to continually work to replace negative leadership patterns with positive leadership patterns.
That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Recently I posted about this subject in a post titled “Sometimes We Complicate Leadership Too Much“. This is a continuation of that thought process. Basically, if we want to improve as leaders, we don’t try to change everything about ourselves in one transformation. We work on areas that need improving one at a time. For example, I know I’m weak in the area of coordinating details, even the ones I’m responsible for doing, so I work on that area. Continually. It’s become a discipline. I delegate what I can, but I find ways to improve at handling the details only I can do.
I am fairly intentional, so I even coined a phrase that I often use as a subtle reminder to me of areas in which I need to improve.
Here are a few examples of rather than leadership:
Rather than needing to control everything…try utilizing delegation.
Rather than using intimidation to get what you want…try applying better inspiration.
Rather than having a culture of fear…try creating a culture of encouragement.
Rather than hiding information from people…try being more transparent.
Rather than trying to please everyone…try doing the right thing, regardless of the pushback.
Rather than having all the ideas…try embracing the creativity of others.
Rather than saying “I”, “my”, or “me”…try saying “we”, “our”, and “us” more often.
It’s Rather Than Leadership.
The examples I gave are fairly broad, and thankfully, all of them aren’t my issues anymore. I’ve improved in areas. But, you can make them as specific as you need them to be for you. As an example, knowing I get distracted easily, am very big picture, and have a thousand ideas a day, I can have very unproductive days. And, it’s miserable for me, my team and my leadership. One rather than leadership principle for me then might be:
Rather than ending the day feeling that I’ve had little or no progress…try making a reasonable, but stretching checklist and completing it by day’s end.
The key is to find those areas of good leadership principles in which you are weakest and seek to improve up one them — replace them with better patterns of leadership.
If you’re a control freak — if you stifle ideas — if your language is “me-centric” — then you know what you have to do. Write out your rather than leadership principle. Replace them. Improve as a leader.
That will first require identifying your weaknesses, then learning the positive ways to improve in those areas, and continually disciplining yourself to grow and develop, but it helps to at least know where to start. I find mental simple stimulants or reminders such as this help me improve.
Try it. Rather Than Leadership. Or use your own term. Let’s just continue to improve as leaders.