From overwhelmed leadership to leaders who grow leaders
Leadership Coach, Front of Room Leader and Systemic Change Guide
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Overwhelmed leadership is the new normal. Really? It’s neither necessary nor sustainable for people, planet or business. It’s time to rethink leadership and get from overwhelm to leaders who grow leaders.

“One of the big things I have learnt through our coaching together is to ask for help.” 

What a delightful celebration at the beginning of our coaching session! Because like most senior leaders P. is often overwhelmed with all the demands on his time. He feels that he isn’t able to stay on top of things as they keep piling up. It gives him a headache and he feels tired and unfocused when things get way too much. And he doesn’t want to return home from work to his wife and young kids like that.

During our coaching relationship, P. has started to change a few behaviours. That has given him more time, energy, and lots of motivation to keep this good thing going. However, he’s well aware that under pressure new behaviours change back to old habits. It’s happened before!

So he’s keen to turn the new behaviours into habits that stick and turn into second nature by constant repetition. His end game is to get out of overwhelm. He wants to experience rich and exciting work days that leave him energy for himself, his wife, and his kids.

80% of behaviour change is an inside game

The obvious next step is to find the best system for delegating. Or is it? We’ve coached for a while, hence I know that P. is great at optimising systems that help him set up and track tasks. But is he 100% behind the idea of delegating, with head, heart, and gut?

Finding a structure is more easy for most people than getting 100% behind a behaviour change. When your intention is pure, your chance of making it happen is very high. But good intentions are often encumbered by contradictory limiting beliefs. That’s why P. has failed in the past to sustain the behaviour changes he so desires. P. is afraid to ask too much of others, to open himself up to criticism, to be seen as not available to help others. He keenly feels the responsibility of being at the helm of his organisation. And he has a belief system around what he should and should not do.

Beliefs can make or break behaviour change

Hence we agree to focus first on his belief system. And we look at alternative perspectives on what it means to delegate (aka asking for help). Our exploration turns out to become a conversation on the pillars of leadership.

Delegation has many components, each of which you might trip over. Find out for yourself: As you read the following list, let it sink and let your gut tell if it comes easily to you, or not, to

  • Ask for help,
  • Trust someone to do the job, and
  • Grow leaders 

These are the attributes of a co-active® leader

Leaders ask for help. Leaders trust. Leaders grow leaders. 

Leaders ask for help.

Can you easily ask for help? If not, are you afraid others will think less of you?  Have you seen that happen in your organisation? Are you afraid that you might put the person you ask for help into an awkward position? That you might overwhelm them? In which case, do you not trust them to be able to say “no” or “not right now”? 

Leaders trust.

Do you trust others? Or do you need to make sure that things get done (right)? Does that lack of trust show up elsewhere in your life? Is there a bad experience in the past that you might need to work through? Or do you work in a toxic environment, where trust seems dangerous to you? 

Leaders grow leaders.

Do you grow those around you into leaders? Do you encourage and help them to take on more responsibility? If you don’t, are you afraid that they might one day outsmart or overtake you? That they will use their new responsibility to make themselves look better than you? Or that they are just not capable and able to grow? 

Getting under the hood of a topic as simple as delegation can take a while, but it is worth it. It can be life changing, and even life saving. It expands self-awareness and it grows Self-leadership: your ability to lead with choice, not by force of our circumstances and inner demons.

Over to you: Do you want to grow your own ability to lead? Do you want to shift your organisation from overwhelmed leadership to growing leaders?

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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