Try as we might not to be, we are creatures of habit.
When it comes to leadership, this habit of being habitual tends to show up as a set of “default modes”. We tend to respond in set patterns. Many of these have worked for us in the past, which only makes them all the more dangerous. It’s all too easy for yesterday’s solution to become today’s problem.
When it comes to our default modes, awareness is at least 50% of the solution. If we can understand our habits of thinking, responding, acting, and interpreting for what they are it will open up options for us to get past the default to creativity.
Our leadership habits tend to be shaped by three factors.
- Personal history. Whom are we loyal to, where did we come from, what forces shaped us, how did our mentors behave and think, what has worked for us in the past? All of these are powerful historical shapers of current thinking and acting. We need to consider them carefully, draw on the aspects of our personal history that are timeless, and adjust or drop the others as needed to respond to new realities.
- Personal wiring. Some things just set us off that would leave another unmoved. Conversely, we can accept with equanimity things that drive others nuts. Maybe you always take responsibility for others. Or maybe you disengage emotionally in trying times. Perhaps you thrive in chaos. On the other hand, you may relish order and predictability. We will naturally tend to default to situations and solutions with which we are comfortable. But if we can recognize these patterns in ourselves we can choose ways of relating and responding which might stretch us while offering us more options.
- Personal toolbox. What techniques have we learned, tools have we acquired, resources have we developed, learnings have we engaged in? The fewer the tools the fewer our options. The more we can add to our toolbox the more sophisticated our interpretations and decisions can be.
Carefully consider each of the factors in your leadership habits. Where are you aware? Where do you need to grow in awareness? Where do you need to try a new approach? What new tool do you need to add to your repertoire?
A leadership coach can help you understand your habits and adjust or build on them for greater effectiveness as a leader. To find our more about TAG leadership and executive coaching, click here.