The Leadership Tipping Point
What is one of the biggest de-railers for a senior leader in their career?
As a senior leader, the impact of decision-making serves as a huge ripple effect on multiple parts of a business. One of the most critical areas I work with leaders is in helping them to develop their ability to manage complexity at pace. Often leaders are operating in an environment where there’s not a huge amount of clarity and they are the leader responsible for setting that clarity. Not having all of the information at their disposal is the new normal at a leadership level.
For a lot of leaders, that complexity can trigger the ability to lead effectively – imposter syndrome, leaning on tried and tested approach for comfort, delaying decision making an missing the opportunity. If you are in that situation maybe you haven’t yet developed the mental agility and cognitive capacity to push up and out.
Is relying too much on your expertise holding you back?
Even though you may be an expert in a particular pillar with a high level of subject matter knowledge, leadership effectiveness needs more and it looks different. Being able to demonstrate a high level of leadership effectiveness is when you are able to make decisions that take a broader view. It’s one of the biggest and most challenging leaps for any leader to move towards and shows up as a tipping point for career advancement and success.
We get to this level of our career where we have done exceptionally well by bringing our expertise to our conversations. We know a lot of stuff because we have studied it. We have been responsible for it. That is also when expertise can actually start to become what derails us when we have to make decisions through ambiguity. Leaning on a set of previous expertise that isn’t actually relevant to the broader, bigger conversation is where you see leaders reaching a tipping point.
Whilst they remain very successful with their expertise hat on they are less successful when they’re having to move into an enterprise leader role, thinking cross-functionally and having to be as focused on the external as they are the internal. It’s a very different environment when you’re making decisions in that enterprise leader space. Leaders need to have that risk appetite to try something that has never been tried before by leveraging the past but not getting stuck there.
Learning how to build more of that robustness around how you make decisions through ambiguity is essential to making that move into the next level of your leadership effectiveness. This is where investing in either one-to-one executive coaching or an executive development style programme can help you to develop the tools and strategies to help you build the mental muscles needed to face these types of daily challenges without getting hijacked by negative thoughts or reactions.