Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Is it true that everyone can be a great leader? I believe that leadership is learned, and everyone can influence at some level. However, becoming a full-time leader comes with some high stakes and is not for everyone. In this week’s podcast, we’ll talk about six reasons you might not be ready to be a leader and what you can do about it.
6 Reasons Leadership May Not Be For You
1. You are not a risk-taker
The best leaders know that you have to take risks to improve or create change. Good leaders overcome their fear of failure by taking calculated risks and being willing to make adjustments.
Q: Do you find it easier to take risks in your personal or professional life? Why? Describe a time when you took a risk that paid off.
2. You prefer to work alone.
The very essence of leadership is about inspiring others to bring out their best. Exceptional leaders view coaching and supporting their team as their key responsibility. They realize that spending time with their people is an excellent investment toward mutual success.
Q: How often do you spend time with your team? Your boss? What effects have you seen when you spend more time with the people on your team?
3. You don’t like change
Change is inevitable, and great leaders create it! If you get stressed when things change or things don’t go according to plan, or you hesitate to initiate change – leadership might not be right for you. In today’s business climate, where companies constantly innovate new solutions to remain competitive, change is necessary and inevitable.
Q: Describe a time when you had to go through a change that made you uncomfortable. What helped you adjust to the change? What was the ultimate result?
4. You avoid confrontation.
Most people don’t like confrontation, but leaders need to be willing to put those feelings aside and have the necessary difficult conversations. People will not always meet expectations, and things will not always go as planned. Exceptional leaders don’t avoid these conversations; they see them as a necessary responsibility for working through issues and moving things forward.
Q: Why do you think leaders have to be willing to confront their team members? What do you think is the key to a successful difficult conversation? Describe a time when you have seen this done well or when it was not done well.
5. You are arrogant
Leadership is not about power. It’s about responsibility. Nobody wants to work for a leader who is more concerned with their success and self-acclaim than their employees’ development and progress. The world’s best leaders are humble. They treat everyone with respect and are willing to help. Good leaders have the strength to admit when they have made a mistake and are happy to acknowledge when someone has a better idea. They don’t take all the credit; they recognize and celebrate the hard work and success of others.
Q: What types of behavior make a leader come off as arrogant? Do you think a leader can undo the damage caused by their arrogance? Why or why not?
6. You have low emotional intelligence
People are inspired by someone who can manage their emotions – not someone who is all over the place. Being aware of and having the ability to manage your feelings, and recognize emotions in others, is a vital quality of any good leader. Having solid EQ means you are difficult to offend, you are self-aware, you let go of mistakes, and you don’t hold grudges. You have a way of neutralizing toxic people, and you are empathetic. High emotional intelligence is not only key to motivating and influencing others but also necessary for conflict management.
Q: What does emotional intelligence mean to you? Describe a situation where you used emotional intelligence to defuse a tense situation in your personal or professional life. What initially tipped you off to the problem?
If you identify with the traits above, you need to either improve or choose a new career path.
With time, persistence, and patience, you can improve in these areas with the help of a coach or mentor. But you have to be self-aware, and you have to be willing to change. So, if you really have your heart set on being a leader, look at where you need to improve and start making changes today.
Be honest with yourself for a moment. Which of these traits do you see showing up in your leadership style? Everyone has areas of weakness, but being aware of those areas will help you know where you have to pay special attention. For example, if you prefer to work alone, challenge yourself to be with your employees for even 30 minutes a day or over a lunch period. Get to know them if you struggle with taking risks, schedule time into your calendar to look for areas to improve, and create a plan, even if it seems risky.
Even leaders who are not inwardly arrogant can appear arrogant if they neglect to give credit where it is due. Remember that people value your actions as a leader, not your intentions. To avoid appearing arrogant, make sure that you thank people both privately and publicly. Use warm body language, and regularly talk to people about their goals and how you can help them reach them. People will trust you and your intentions if you prove that you are invested in their success as much as your own.
If you listened to this podcast and realized that you have a few areas to grow in your leadership, don’t panic or quit your job. Invest in a leadership growth opportunity, like a mentorship or group coaching. Learning from other leaders will help you become more self-aware and give you more practical advice on how to grow in the areas we talked about today.