Inspired by a book I’ve been reading on holiday by John Davy, titled “Would Your Boss Punch You In The Face”, I’ve been musing on why we have such a dearth of leadership globally. My learning from John’s book and my musings led me to think about what stops people from progressing as leaders, and what you might do about it if this sounds like you?
In this post, I outline what I see as the top ten reasons for not becoming a great leader, or even believing you can be a leader at all. I then describe how to overcome these obstacles, and how to believe in yourself and your development as a leader.
Ten Reasons Stopping Your Progression
- Fear of change or the unknown
- You are content with where you are.
- Pressure from others.
- Fear of failure.
- “I’m too busy.”
- Feeling responsible for others.
- Waiting for the right moment.
- Waiting for others to act first.
- Lack of self-belief.
According to John Davy, the biggest culprit is number ten – procrastination. I think I agree with him, but I’ll let you know tomorrow.
The Primary Causal Factor
You might have guessed before that I was only kidding about number ten. John and I both agree that it is often the primary reason why people don’t progress. The actions that need taking are put off, and off, and off, ad nauseam. Have you yet to make a start on your development as a leader? Or is a mix of the ten reasons given above causing you development issues?
There’s an easy way to check out if procrastination is your soft spot. Answer these five questions honestly:
- Can it wait till tomorrow?
- Do you actively look for distraction?
- Do you lie to yourself?
- Do you make excuses for yourself?
- Does your lifestyle lead to missed opportunities?
How did you score? How many were an affirmative answer? If any of your answers were affirmative, the chances are that procrastination is an issue for you!
How Best To Overcome These Obstacles
So, whether it’s procrastination, or some other problem stopping your progression, let look at what you can do to move forward. You need to become intentional. That means you will take action. You will begin to make forward momentum. Working through the ten reasons, here are some thoughts on how to overcome the obstacles described earlier.
- Understand and accept that change is a constant. The sooner you embrace this notion, the more relaxed with any change you will become.
- Foster discontent in yourself and with your current work situation. Grow an attitude of continuous development and always aspire to better.
- Reject others’ perspectives on where you are and how you might improve for the future. Their opinion is not a fact; it is just an opinion. You can ignore it if you choose. Your actions are a personal choice, and they should not be dictated or imposed on you.
- Learn to accept that failure is not a negative. Mistakes are common to all who take risks or seek to stretch themselves. It is a primary route for learning for most people.
- Recognise that busyness is often just that. It may not be productive, and it will certainly stop you creating space for you, for your development and growth. Take the time, create the space and realise the benefits that growth will bring.
- While responsibility for others is a serious matter, it is not an eternal barrier to your growth and development. Denying yourself the time alongside that responsibility is not a badge of honour, it is a self-destructive act. I believe in equity and balance and so should you.
- Understand that there is never the right moment. There is just THE moment when you decide that your growth and development is equally important, if not more important, at that time than other things to which you could give your time.
- Recognise that waiting for others will consign you to an endless, delaying tactic. In my experience, rarely are they ready to move, and you are not usually the focus of their thinking.
- Believe in yourself and your capacity for learning. Grow your curiosity, be open to new stimuli, ideas and opportunities and say “YES, I’ll try that” when they arise. You will be surprised how much you will learn and grow.
- Understand we have now come full circle – to the starting assumption of this section of the post.
In your consideration of these responses, did any give you pause for thought? Did any cause you to think more positively? Did any make you want to act?
Start Taking Action – NOW!
Stop. Listen to yourself. Think – out loud if need be.
Believe things can be better. Become intentional. Take the first step, however small. Reverse one or more of the ten reasons, and who knows what you might achieve?
I guarantee you will be amazed, as I have, over the years at what you will learn and how you might develop, both as a person and as a leader.
I am always willing to listen and ready to help. Please reach out to me if you feel I might be of assistance. I love to engage in meaningful dialogue, and I’d appreciate your connection.
Thank you for reading.