You must demonstrate unwavering courage to throw out what is no longer serving you. This morning I packed one box and three shopping bags of clothes, shoes and household items to donate to the thrift store. The key theme is I recognized these possessions were merely weighted baggage that disrupted my progress to become more efficient and performance conscious of my closets and storage facilities.
In the same way, leaders oftentimes put themselves in tight spaces simply because of not seeing how their disruptive behaviors squeeze the life from performance and productivity. We as leaders must take inventory of what no longer serves us and honestly observe what might specifically be slowing us down. I say to honestly observe only because it can be disguised as harmless but a problematic character fault. We don’t tend to notice our own leadership and communication styles until unfortunate things happen. Neither do we see what others can see—our behaviors—the good and the bad. And when we do recognize that something needs changing, we often unconsciously fall into denial.
McKinsey talked with hundreds of chief executives about the most common mistake companies make in their leadership development efforts and identified changing behaviors and adjusting mindsets as one of four oversights. Seemingly innocent behaviors can insidiously disrupt our resourcefulness and hijack personal and professional growth. Moreover, building resourceful leadership behaviors is essential to individual effectiveness and company progress. As unassuming as it may appear, it is a powerful concept and the bread and butter of what I refer to as flourishing leadership.
Resourceful leadership behavior is not a means of guided traits and actions; it can be knowing what to do in any given moment. And when we know what to do, future leaders are nurtured, motivated and engaged. Based on my observations, here’s how you can build your resourceful leadership behaviors:
- Develop your mind. Figure out what triggers you to behave counterproductively and set out to conquer it. Think about how your behaviors might be serving you in an unconscious way. If you behave counterproductively, and can’t stop it, then you must be getting something very potent from the behavior. Reflective thinking will aid you in uncovering what that is for you and will reveal its root cause. It’s generally layered by something that you can’t deal with in the form of fear and anxiety. The behavior is just a protective survival tradeoff.
- Trust yourself. If you are cautioned, you need to find your courage. In doubt is where you must find your resolve. If you can’t trust your decisions or fitness for what you do, others can see it and they won’t trust you either. Locate your leadership voice. Respect your uniqueness, manage your extremes and understand your non-negotiables. Faith in your own abilities especially under tough circumstances is the sum of behaving resourcefully.
- Find your drive. Use your unhelpful and undesirable experiences to push you toward where you want to take your leadership. Think and imagine the possibilities outside of these past experiences. Make them your resourceful vehicles that transport you to unknown places and then figure out how to get your leadership to that place. With drive you can create your own opportunities that can have a lasting and great impact.
- Be committed. Commitment begins with knowing who you are. We’ve heard this before but haven’t grasped its grand significance. You already know now disruptive behaviors weakens you. Revisit your unhelpful and undesirable experiences but this time only to draw a more mature, emotional conclusion about them. When you’re squeezed you have to let go of what no longer works. Make it a priority to commit to demonstrating resourcefulness from “who you are” and not from “who you think you are.”
- Cultivate grit. In my mind, grit fights through problems to get to the solution that’s uniquely yours. Grit matters as much as your talents. Grit activates your resourcefulness. Therefore, you must have a desire to want to be great at building resourceful leadership behaviors and resolve to never give up no matter what.
Resourceful leadership behavior brings your emotional presence to a more mature point, allowing you to make more conscious and effective choices in challenging situations. Your job as leader includes using these inner resources to first liberate yourself from disruptive behaviors and then liberating the human spirit of others to see them become their greatest selves.
Written by Dr. Deana Murphy.
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