Sunday, February 13, 2011

Five Ways to Sabotage Your Rise to Leadership

By Barbara LaBier

Leaders in public, private, and nonprofit sectors  fail to become exceptional leaders because they overemphasize personal goals at the expense of others according to researchers.

Barriers to success include:

Failure to Commit

As a manger you may be protecting yourself instead of supporting members of the team and making customers happy. Emerging leaders are advised to minimize scanning the horizon for predators and pay attention to others or an entire team. At this point in your career, capture the skills and resources that you’re missing to accomplish your goals.

Protection of Your Public Image

Many ambitious people choose between image and impact. Sometimes they are so busy creating a persona of the leader they would like to be that they fail to act as one. The best strategy is to help others achieve their goals and forget about appearing as a perfect leader in every situation.

Turning Competitors into Enemies

Turning negative relationships into toxic behavior carries significant leadership costs.

Distorting responses from other people you don’t like limits your view of reality and prevents valuable chances to collaborate. The better alternative is to listen to the other side of the story and turn revaluation into collaboration.

Going It Alone

People opt-out of leadership roles because the road is unsafe. Learning how to cope with your own fears is necessary and can be mitigated by relying on the advice of your “team” comprised of family, friends or mentors that help provide perspective, grounding and faith. Find others who believe in your desire and ability to lead and cherish them.

Waiting for Permission

While patience is the main ingredient in discipline and hope, it can also be a curse for emerging leaders. Potential can be undermined because we can be persuaded to continue to wait for someone to recognize our achievements and give us more authority. Generally influence leads to power so we are advised not to wait for the powers that be to anoint us but to take the chance to initiate change.

The information for this article was excerpted from Harvard Business Review January-February 2011

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