January Is Hard for Leaders
If you haven’t found your leadership mojo yet in 2023 and come racing out of the gates energised for what you want to achieve then don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Many of the leaders I’m working with have commented on how they feel they haven’t had the downtime to relax and reassess where they are and where they want to be this year. For many of them, it feels as if the New Year hasn’t even started yet.
Is February the New January?
There’s a lot of pressure on us to start afresh in January, however, for many of us, we are just getting back into the routine of life and leadership. Depending on where in the world you are, January sees us celebrate Chinese New Year, Australia Day and let’s not forget schools typically don’t open back up until after the second week of January. The diary tells us we’re nearly at the end of the month when it feels like it’s only just started. With little downtime over Christmas and the stress of new year expectations, for many of us, February tends to be the month where we can really start to accelerate our performance and work out what we want from this year.
Many organisations have yet to confirm KPIs for the year ahead, targets have yet to be confirmed and performance review cycles and bonuses are just kicking in. Until these conversations have taken place it’s hard to assess what we should be expecting from ourselves and our leadership potential.
How Do You Adjust Your Leadership Style?
Ensuring you are showing that sense of openness, humility and compassion whilst also giving some clarity around getting the engine going is a fine line for leaders in January. On the one hand, you need to be leading with empathy but on the other, driving your team into their zones of creative tension.
The zone of creative tension is this magic space that a leader needs to dial into if they want to maximise effectiveness. It’s the tipping point between feeling stretched and energised or burned out and disengaged. It’s that sweet spot where our team feel stretched and they want to give more, that’s when you get discretionary effort and superior performance. Feeling proud of the push but not like it’s too much to push you over is the key to ensuring you and your team find that zone of creative tension.
Five Questions To Help You Uncover That Sweet Spot Of Creative Tension
1: How do I make sure I’m bringing people at the right pace and the right level with me?
2: How can I lean in with individuals to tap into their potential?
3: Are we thinking about our goals as a collective or as individuals?
4: Do your Leaders encourage differing opinions and welcome feedback?
5: Is everyone in your team included in the conversation?
What’s the one thing that could be killing creative tension in your leadership team?
Companies that encourage and manage creative tension in their teams effectively have the competitive edge. In my work with global leadership teams, and executive leaders I find creative tension to be the secret sauce of achieving and sustaining high-performance.
For more on my work coaching and developing leadership team performance please see my website.
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