I recently completed a challenging jigsaw puzzle, titled Krypt. It’s featured in the blog photo. Each piece was the same color and shading. Plus, among the 631 pieces, no two were alike.
A puzzle map served as the only form of assistance. Solving the puzzle involved paying attention to every detail and lots of persistence.
The Leadership Puzzle
Every leader I have encountered is unique, just like the puzzle pieces. While it’s tempting to paint leadership with a broad brush, what works for one person won’t benefit someone else. Many leaders do share common qualities or characteristics. These include things like seeing the big picture, focusing on results, or taking risks.
But many leaders are just the opposite. They love details, focus more on feelings, or are cautious. If you are a leader, how do you discover your best self? If you are developing or coaching leaders, how do you make sense of these differences? Is there a best way to lead?
Assessments, like Everything DiSC®, help leaders solve some of their leadership challenges.
I admit that I’m still learning about leadership. That includes my own sometimes puzzling behaviors. Here are a few things I have discovered and how I apply them.
A Formula for Success
Solving the leadership puzzle is not a one-size-fits-all process. Here are three ways to get started.
- Learn self-awareness. I use assessments, like Everything DiSC®, to help leaders discover their priorities at work. They learn about their behaviors and how they see themselves. The profile also challenges them to admit how those same behaviors are viewed by others. Like my puzzle example, each leader’s profile is unique.
- Practice vulnerability. Without the map, my puzzle would have remained unsolved. I needed the assistance it provided. Leaders must ask for help. They should listen to the ideas and opinions of others. They must admit mistakes and take responsibility. Leaders who do this are providing an emotional safety net for their followers.
- Be aware of blind spots. I use a special light when I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle. It is calibrated to reveal the true colors and highlight the shapes. Most leaders are uncomfortable admitting their blind spots. I initially resisted being told I was cynical. My natural skepticism felt normal to me. Because I was overusing it, others saw it as a negative.
This list is only the beginning. My coaching practice includes many other tailored approaches to help clients solve their unique leadership puzzle.
What lessons have you learned? What tips are you willing to share?
Photo Credit: ravensburger.us