One question I ask my clients is: What are your leadership aspirations?
When I recently asked a client this question, he gave me a list of things he felt were important as a leader: revenue growth, increased productivity, and various other metrics. He rattled his answer off as if his ability to succeed was directly tied to his ability to regurgitate it. It became clear to me that this was his idea of a vision and that was what he was “selling” his people.
As clear as he was on his metrics, he had done nothing to solve the real mystery of who he was to his people. What they shared with me were comments like: “I don’t really know him… I’m not sure if this guy has my back… I don’t really trust him.”
This feedback was devastating to my client who believed he was living his life with integrity and honesty. He was a good guy, why didn’t they see that?
What they did see was the company guy with stats. No wonder he was having a difficult time getting his people to trust him and perform with heart.
During our time together he learned that in order to come across as the leader he knew he was, he would have to dig deep and develop more self- awareness. If he was to build trust with his people he would have to change direction.
As Marshal Goldsmith said “What got you here won’t get you there.”
This was my client’s time to realize that he needed to spend time reflecting on himself in order to show up differently. This can be a difficult transition for many leaders that have spent their entire careers focused on execution and output.
In our sessions we focused on the following four key themes:
Ultimately my client did reach his goals. What’s interesting is that he surpassed all of the metrics once he stopped using them as his aspirations.