What sort of leader do they expect me to be? (Part 2 of 2)

Being a successful leader requires you to be a visionary, seize opportunities, rally and motivate employees, navigate pitfalls, and so much more. You are expected to do so much, and herein lies one of the biggest problems for leaders today: How are you possibly able to fulfill everyone’s expectations?

This is the second of my two-part article, (some might say activity), on establishing what exactly it is that is expected of you, how to manage these expectations, and as and where clashes exist, analyse and establish the most important expectations in order to be the most successful leader that you can be. If you haven’t read it already, please see part one here. Part two will make a lot more sense if you do!

So you’ve used part one to establish expected characteristics of you as a leader and the clashes of different stakeholders. But now what? How on earth are you meant to compromise on the clashes? When I work with clients on this in my coaching sessions, here are the steps we work through.

Engage in some self-reflection.

Up to here, we’ve been focusing our attention outwards: to the leader that others expect you to be. But what about you? It’s critical that, before you start to think about what leadership approaches to use in any situation, you work out what sits comfortably with you. What type of leader do you prefer to be?

This is extremely important, because evidence suggests that acting in ways that are very unnatural in the long-term can be detrimental to a leader’s health, leading to, for example, exhaustion, higher staff turnover and lower job satisfaction. So, who are you? What makes you tick? And how does that influence your leadership style?

Lots of people in leadership positions already have a pretty good idea about this, developed both through trial and error, but also diagnostics, reflective exercises, etc., that they have been asked to conduct as part of their leadership training.

If not, don’t fret. There are lots of diagnostics out there to help you work out what sort of leader you might naturally be – some better than others, this book, Defining You, is supposed to be good – but a good dose of self-reflection with a coach, or a trusted colleague, can also help you to reach understanding of what leadership actions do or don’t work for you.

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