Being overwhelmed by all that needs to get done is not a fun place to be. Furthermore when everything and everyone wants your time and attention, you begin to wonder if you will ever get anything actually done. Interruptions start to feel like the foundation of all you do.
When this happens to people in leadership positions, their confidence in themselves and their ability to make change happen successfully plummets. They burn out quickly and struggle professionally and personally.
Yet, some leaders in situations of this nature seem to pull themselves up by their boot straps and move forward again. They regain their confidence and work themselves out of their struggles.
How do they do this?
I think the best answer can be found in the following book: Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . . and Others Don't. HarperBusiness, 2001. Here, the author introduces the concept called “Level 5 Leadership.” As he writes, “Level 5" refers to a five-level hierarchy of executive capabilities, with Level 5 at the top. Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.”
As he continues about this in-depth research study on organizational transformation, “Level 5 leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility. The comparison CEOs often did just the opposite - they looked in the mirror to take credit for success, but out the window to assign blame for disappointing results.”
The key for me, when reading the above, is to cultivate people who help me look out the window to better understand what caused success. And to have people in my life who can help me when I look in the mirror to better understand what needs to change about me. Whether these are colleagues, allies or confidants, the key is to have a strong circle of people, a kitchen table cabinet, who will support, educate and assist me in becoming a better leader. Having these individuals in my circle helps me to build and maintain my confidence during challenging times.
This week, review your core circle of support and make sure you have people who can assist you whether you are looking out the window or into the mirror.