Over lunch with a dear friend and executive yesterday, I heard her sense of dread about getting out of bed in the morning and going to work. She is a very upbeat person so this is a new experience for her. She believed about 80% of her executive peers had similar dread on a daily basis and really wondered how they could make it through their day.
People are actually hoping the 2012 disaster predictions are true so they can escape the jobs that they dreamt about and worked their entire lives to achieve. How can that be?
We go to college, take the right stretch assignments, relocate for jobs, and work crazy hours so we can reach this goal – being an executive. All those sacrifices, time with friends and family, missed events, putting off relationships and family. Then the question – I gave up so much to get here? Now what? Is this really it?
How does this tie to innovative leadership? Most of the leaders I know are working longer hours than they ever imagined at this point in life. We all expected to pay our dues and we expected that the long hours and crazy schedules would be rewarded with promotion and an opportunity to live a more balanced life. Many are at the top of their game with regard to skills and abilities and still working crazy hours and feeling burned out. As they look down the road, what are they working for?
Innovative leadership helps leaders change how they see their role as leaders and develop additional awareness and skills to shift their experience. What do you get from focusing on Innovative Leadership?
- It can help you become more self-aware – providing a foundation for different choices and more productive interactions
2. It can increase your ability to find innovative approaches to solve problems
3. It can help you change your habitual thinking – moving away from unproductive thoughts
4. It can help you become more systematic in your problem solving and decision making – more comprehensive solutions mean more efficiency
5. It can guide your leadership behaviors to a more generative (less controlling) style – increasing engagement and productivity among your team
Here is an example of a leader who is using innovative leadership and his successes after a couple of months.
Our leader is being groomed for a senior leadership role in a major university. He is known for getting significant results often with limited financial resources and little political support. Now that he is moving into a more visible role, certain behaviors will no longer serve him.
In this case, he took a 360 degree assessment that gave numeric scores and written comments from his boss, peers, and subordinates. He learned from this that his aggressive tactics have undermined him with his peers. They saw him as acting in his personal interest over the interest of the team. Using this information, he is now much more aware of his actions and how others view him. He made significant progress in rebuilding several key relationships and is also building a broader base of support across the university. His self-awareness provided him the foundation to make very different choices in how he relates to peers and people who will become his peers when he is promoted. He is much more of a team player, considering the needs of the group and how he can work with others to accomplish a much broader goal than the ones he was accomplishing only a few months ago.
So, with those potential benefits – can you afford the time to explore what it is? If you missed it, I invite you to visit Is your Leadership Innovative? explaining more about Innovative Leadership.
image credit: deliverfreedom.com
Metcalf & Associates provides training, coaching, team building, and organizational transformation to help leadership teams become more innovative, and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Maureen is the author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, and a free on-line Innovative Leadership assessment.