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09.10.13

What Keeps Leaders Up at Night?

Leadership
Gaps in what we know can trouble us for a time, but gaps in what we know about ourselves and others can truly keep us up at night. We are unpredictable, messy, complicated, illogical, and fallible. That will never change, “but through a commitment to self-awareness we can all become more highly attuned to the subtle and not-so-subtle red flags that sometimes pull us off course.”

What Keeps Leaders Up at Night? by Nicole Lipkin is a treatise on self-awareness and personal responsibility and the damaging effects a lack of those qualities has in our lives.

“You can’t change what’s already happened, but you can change what you do next.…I’ve learned that the solutions always begin with raising my self-awareness and helping others raise theirs.”

Using research personal examples, Lipkin tackles a number of issues:

I’m a Good Boss. So Why Do I Sometimes Act Like a Bad One? (You usually find three overarching reasons: too busy to win, too proud to see, and too afraid to lose. “Although most of us don’t like to admit it, we often get all wrapped up in our own ideas, not because we are idiots but because we are human. It’s natural to think our ideas best, especially when we’re the boss.”)

Why Don’t People Heed My Sage Advice? (If you focus on treating your people with kindness and respect, your influence will grow.)

Why Do I Lose My Cool in Hot Situations? (“Leaders who want to solve the problems that keep them up at night would be wise to begin with a through inventory of their stress personality.” Learn “how to negotiate your own reactions to the stress that inevitably occurs every day.”)

Why Does a Good Fight Sometimes Turn Bad? (The emotions underlying a good fight gone bad in the workplace often occur as a result of a dense of injustice, contention for resources or standing, or [I suspect most likely] feelings of inferiority.”)

Why Can Ambition Sabotage Success? (“The Julius Caesars of the world often end up failing because they pursue myopic success, a ‘nearsighted’ view that defines success in terms of self-interest. The Caesar Augustuses, on the other hand, pursue panoramic success, defining success in terms of the ‘big picture’ best interests of all.”)

Why Do People Resist Change? (“We find it amazingly easy to turn our backs on compelling reasons to change…Beginning in childhood, we tend to shed habits that don’t serve us well but hang on tightly to those habits that provide us comfort or safety. These persistent habits are able to endure even the most vicious assaults long past their expiration date.”)

Why Do Good Teams Go Bad? (“Few other aspects of organizational life pose greater challenges to a leader than the behavior of people in groups.” Groups are inevitable, and once we do join a group, some truly fascinating dynamics kick in as Lipkin explains.)

What Causes a Star to Fade? (The failure to engage people. “Engagement depends more than anything else on the sort of panoramic leadership Augustus practices throughout his tenure as Rome’s leader.”)

If things do start to go south, here are Three Simple Rules for getting back on track:

1. Seek Self-Awareness
2. Help Other Gain Self-Awareness
3. Remember we’re Only Human After All.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:56 PM
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