A Leader Walks Toward Discomfort

If you are not uncomfortable as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. ~Brené Brown

For the most part, I am profoundly comfortable in my leadership role. Which begs the question, where am I coming up short? Where am I shirking my leadership duties? Where should I expand my sphere of influence to increase my level of discomfort? Bluntly, into what pile of crap do I need to step?

I connect well with those in frontline leadership roles, with those led by frontline leaders. And there is comfort at the peer level. I am very comfortable leading down and horizontally. The direction of discomfort then is upward, is leading those at higher tiers of authority in the organization.

I didn’t want to see that I was working at less than my potential. Didn’t want to face the facts that I was selling the organization short and myself short. Thankfully, I have a direct manager that sees the larger potential pictures and is pushing me into the uncomfortable.

I ask myself, what about my perceptions of senior leaders, of myself, do I need to adjust to view them not as obstacles but as allies in my effort to help teams become high performing? How do I need to adjust my vision? How do I need to adjust my approach?

Recognizing my deep seated mistrust of authority was a huge first step. What’s next?

Senior level management wants product out fast so they can satisfy customers and exceed revenue targets. My passion is helping teams move from ordinary to high performing within the context of valued people. The key will be helping Senior leadership understand the connection between people feeling valued and high performance. I must learn to speak their language so the connection can be made. First, I must step into their world and learn to trust.

What pile of crap do you need to step into?

Author: David A Olson

I often find my mind wandering to various subjects, subjects that make me stop and think. The blog, Musings of a Middle Aged Man, is a catalog of those thoughts I muse upon as I search for significance in life. I am the father of 3 children and the grandfather to 2. I spend my days working for a medium sized multinational corporation where I am an Agile Coach. I view myself as a Servant Leader, have a passion for leadership, particularly, in helping people develop their individual leadership skills and abilities. In October 2012, I went to India on business. After a week of being there, I still had not talked to or texted my 7-year-old grandson. He asked his mom, "Is Papa dead? He hasn't texted me all week." To facilitate communication now that he and I no longer live together, I started a blog for us to communicate. It's titled, "Correspondence Between Luke and His Papi". In April 2013, I moved to Pune, India on an 18-month delegation. It's an adventure that was 1.5 years in the making...The experience is captured on my blog, "The Adventures of an American Living Abroad" My two latest blogs are "The Learning Leader", a topic I have been studying since 1990, and "Lipstick on a Pig", a foray into the fashion sense of this middle aged man.

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