Monday, October 17, 2011

Stop Leading in Circles!

Photo by Rogiro

Do any of these situations sound familiar?
  • You deal with the same problem over and over.
  • It's been a long time since you saw any real team progress toward results.
  • You feel stuck.
  • For a while now, when you talk with your support network, you just end up shrugging your shoulders in frustration.
If any of these resonate, I would encourage you to do just one thing:

Begin looking for a leader who has succeeded in doing what it is you are trying to do. When you find them, offer to buy them lunch, build a relationship, and learn from them.

I've worked with many emerging leaders who either try to do everything on their own, without advice or wisdom from others, or who exclusively get advice from people who are just as stuck as they are. It takes  humility to admit to ourselves and to someone else that we don't know how to do something.

But it's essential.

Effective leaders and managers consistently find mentors or coaches who are farther along the journey and who have demonstrated ability.

If you're stuck "leading in circles", get help! You have amazing resources at your fingertips (remember to look for demonstrated ability!):
  • Your own leaders and managers.
  • People in other departments / teams in your own organization - stay positive and solution-focused.
  • People in your industry.
  • People outside your industry with similar responsibilities.
  • While you're looking, use other learning resources including books, articles, and blogs.
  • Professional coaches. Whether face to face or online, look for demonstrated ability - not just opinions. 
  • I am also available to help - let me know if you would like to talk! 
Wherever you go to learn, make the effort to break the circle. Remember Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results."

Good luck!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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