If Leadership is learn-able like what many experts say, why do many people still fail to demonstrate leadership despite being given training or accessing information to help them learn leadership? I have a hypothesis and that’s what I wish to discuss with you today.
If you haven’t read part 1, I suggest that you go there first. The premise of this series is that the first step of leadership is leading one’s self. It was former Hanover Insurance CEO Bill O’ Brien who said “the quality of the intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.” The leader is an intervenor; hence the quality of his/her leadership is dependent on his/her interior condition. To me this means one’s ability to lead oneself is an important first step.
It all starts with self-awareness and that is what part 1 was about. This post will be about “Self-Regulation.
Self-regulation is crucial to any kind of success whether you are a leader or not. However, the impact of self-regulation of leaders multiply by the number of people they lead. So what is the effect of lack of self-awareness and regulation to them and their followers? Leaders who are unaware of their strengths, their values, or are not in touch with their emotions, fail to self-regulate hence, respond to situations in a counter-productive manner. People who attempt to learn leadership transaction but fail to develop their ability to self-regulate, easily put their learning experiences to waste by reverting back to their old familiar ways when they face challenges.
This reminds me of that old Mike Tyson quote; “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Many so-called leaders throw their learning out the window as soon as the pressures of the job hit them.
I’ve met with leadership training participants in my follow through sessions. I really see the difference between those who have the ability self-regulate and those who can’t. The former will have plenty of story about how they applied their learning and how it yielded results, whether positive or negative. They will have questions and realizations about how to move forward. The latter have plenty of excuses about how busy they are with other priorities that’s why they have not applied their learning action plans.
There are several things that being able to master our emotion can do to us. When we have better self-control, we can manage our impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well. If we can do that, we are not easily knocked down by trying times because we are able to focus better. Better self-control leads to being accountable, conscientious, better ability to learn and adapt to change. This means lesser need to make excuses, being defensive and demonstrating behaviors we may later regret.
Well, it looks like this one is getting too long and still not enough information to get you started. Tell you what, wait for part 3, so I can share some of the things I think we should explore to lead ourselves better. I’m going to write about mental models and paradigm shifting, locus of control, managing stress and dealing with negative emotions. That just sounded more than part 3! No worries, we’ll get it done.
Visit ExeQserve's website if you wish to explore personal mastery as a training for the leaders in your organization.