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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast by Jeff Hancher! Leadership is full of challenges, and it can be difficult to know if you are doing the right thing. Part of being a great leader is being willing to grow and develop self-awareness so that you can honestly assess your weaknesses. This week I am giving you the five most common reasons that leaders fail. You will learn how to identify and overcome those five leadership challenges and thrive in your current role at your company.

5 Reasons Leaders Fail

1. They are not willing to be assertive and have tough conversations

If all you do is compliment everyone, then you are doing them a disservice. Many people worry about what will happen if they correct someone. Instead of worrying about what will happen if you do speak up, think about what will happen if you do not speak up! Accountability makes everyone better, and it protects your personal brand. People are watching how you respond!

Q: How do you feel when you think about correcting an employee? What do you think makes you feel that way? Did you ever have a bad experience with a leader who corrected you in a way that was not constructive? Describe that situation. What do you think that leader could have done differently?

2. Leaders Become Selfish

Leaders who have responsibilities sometimes forget that they are there to support their team. They become power hungry and want to control their team instead of mentoring and helping them grow. You should never put a greater focus on impressing your boss than you do serving your team. Great leaders empower their teams and ensure everyone is growing and being challenged. When leaders start to do the work that they should be passing down to their employees, they end up hurting themselves. In the worst cases, they become stressed out, and their employees get bored and want to leave.

Q: Describe a time when a leader invested in you and your growth. What stood out to you during that situation? How did it affect your view of the leader? Your career path?

3. They Get Too Comfortable

Great leaders always feel like things could be better. They constantly make sure that their team members are growing and developing themselves. Make sure that you set clear expectations, keep track of everyone's progress, and hold people accountable. Let people know where they stand, have a strategy, and make adjustments along the way. When you do, your team and company will benefit.

Q: Describe a time when you got comfortable with where you were, either in a job position or in your personal life. What was some evidence that you had become comfortable? What did it take for you to realize that you needed to make an improvement? What are the impacts when a leader gets comfortable? How is it different than when an individual contributor gets comfortable?

4. Leaders Refuse to Adapt

You will always have to change how you lead based on how your work and company are changing. If you fail to adapt, then it is going to be hard to align your leadership style to what the company is doing. To lead people and manage processes effectively, you must be very flexible and adaptable.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, how adaptable are you? Why do you think that is? Describe a time when you had to adapt to a situation. How did you feel? What was challenging about changing the way you did things?

5. Leaders Become too Reactive

Leaders need to be proactive, not just reactive. If you find yourself spending all your time trying to put out fires, then you are not using your time effectively. Reactive leaders spend too much time playing the short game and do not invest time in their long-term goals. Proactive leaders take time to plan for the future, improve their team, and put measures in place to prevent problems before they happen. Be intentional! Assess the talent of your team, the competition, and your technology. Do not let the business of the day be an excuse to put off identifying problem areas and working on solutions. Your team will not move forward if you are not proactive.

Q: Do you prefer to tick off your daily tasks or spend time dreaming and planning for the future? Why? How can you create time in your schedule to accomplish both?

Application Activities:

  1. Do you feel like everything is important? How do you prioritize the most important tasks so that you are not leading reactively? Write down all of the things that you both need to and want to do for your job. Include daily tasks like meeting with your boss and completing purchase orders or reports along with broad tasks like creating a strategic plan for the quarter and investing in your employees. Then, set deadlines. Some of your tasks have external deadlines--start with these. Then, interject your own deadlines for your broad tasks. Setting and keeping deadlines will help you create space for your urgent and important tasks. You can also see where you have busy weeks and set some deadlines artificially early to create more margin.

  2. Sometimes leaders fail to be assertive because they have decided that their opinion does not matter. This mindset can even lead to the belief that it is wrong or shameful to share your opinion. Practice actively working against this mindset by looking for opportunities to practice being assertive. For example, instead of eating your steak at a restaurant even though it is undercooked, politely tell your server that it is underdone and ask for a new one. Instead of covering for a coworker when you had previous plans, politely explain that you cannot cover for them and ask if there is any other way that you could still be helpful.

  3. The only way to know if you are being selfish is to ask. If you do not already have one in place, create a way for your team to give you feedback about your performance. Include questions beyond your regular job performance and ask about how you make them feel. These questions could include: Are you receiving the support you need to increase your knowledge and skills? Are you challenged in your current position? Are you listened to when you approach your boss with a concern or a suggestion? Take this feedback and honestly evaluate your motives and actions!

Connect with Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

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