One of the common traps that leaders fall into is that of shouldering the burden of success on their own. They put pressure on themselves to work on an overwhelming volume of projects and are reluctant to hand over responsibilities for fear that their standards won’t be met. They feel that no one can do the job as well as they can so they take it all on – from the smallest projects to the largest. Their attention to detail is spectacular but the amount of detail on their radar is crushing. They cannot humanly keep up, feel like no one else really cares quite as much as they do, and wonder why they feel so alone.
On a personal level, these types of leaders are buried under the workload they have piled on themselves and feel resentful that they are in it alone. They feel like there is no one they can trust and are constantly searching for evidence to support this view of the world. People consistently disappoint them and so they choose to suffer the burden of responsibility on their own rather than face disappointment.
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What’s the Impact: At Work?
A growing disconnect and mistrust occurs between the leader and his/her team
Team members feel marginalized and unrecognized for their efforts
The leader’s stress becomes overwhelming
Their attention to so many details has them missing out on big opportunities
They have trouble sleeping at night, and become tired and irritable
Their ability to effectively handle problems becomes limited
What’s the Impact: At Home?
These leaders are exhausted and prickly – they spend a lot of time ‘in their heads’
Home is just one more place where people are unable to pull their weight
Family members try hard to please and feel that it all goes unnoticed
Life is always serious
Judy has run an international events company for over 20 years. She has a team of 46 employees – including two of her own adult children. Several team members have been with her for nearly a decade, but she doesn’t feel that anyone is prepared for a leadership position. She suspects that one of them is stealing and notices that another helped herself to two extra sick days than she was entitled to.
When she gets home every night she is drained. Her family knows to stay out of her way until she has some time to decompress – some nights this can take hours. She wonders how long she can keep up the pace without taking a toll on her health.
What's the Solution?
Extraordinary leaders recognize that they are much stronger when surrounded by a powerful team both inside and outside of their organizations. In addition to hiring strategically, they actively seek out partnerships and input from individuals who are experts in their fields, such as accountants, lawyers, coaches and strategic consultants. They rely on experts to help them see what they are unable to see, and to advise the both personally and professionally.
Leaders focus their efforts on projects that energize them and leverage their core strengths. They trust their team members and give them space to test their ideas, grow (even through failure), and ultimately make valuable contributions within the organizations.
Extraordinary leaders have acknowledged that success is not a solo effort. Both in their personal and professional lives, they have relinquished their desire to have control over every job, decision and responsibility – making them far better equipped to lead the projects and make decisions where they offer the most value.
Are you trapped?
Find out what's keeping you from becoming an extraordinary leader. Start by answering these questions...