You likely have an inkling of what is lurking in your personal shadow just as most leaders have a sense of what problem patterns exist in their organization…so why do we allow them to fester?
Here’s how most of my clients answer that question:
- Fear. This one encompasses a lot of other emotions so I love it when s/he cuts right to the fear and yet we have to dig further where we may encounter anger, tenacity, impatience, or even something resembling impostor syndrome.
- Maybe it’s laziness or complacency, or a distaste for facing the emotional. As the leader, you can’t sweep it under the carpet. Rooting it out may not always be the best approach but you can’t simply avoid it either OR it may destroy your team, department or even the entire organization.
Shine the light on the dark corners of the shadow and get curious about the possible lessons being held captive. There is meaning to be found in that shadow – seeking understanding will provide the gift of deep learning. Listen to this week’s ImpactBank: the Kickass Koach Episode 095: What Lesson is Hiding in Your Shadow?
How unsure is activity without understanding – Virchow
So whether you are a leader who is:
- Taken deeply by surprise and feeling very alone, like you are at the mercy of your own shadow like Rhoda in Episode 091,
- receiving distressing data like a 360 assessment or disquieting Employee Satisfaction Survey results and you’re angry or confused about what it means OR
- realizing something is festering but you don’t think you have the time or patience to deal with it…
…you need to bring the shadow into the light.
You, your team or organization may not be in crisis but don’t be like so many leaders and allow it to go that far. Here are a few things you want to do:
- Get some distance – retreat and reflect. THIS Is not about avoiding – far from it. I’m encouraging you to get some physical distance but to emerge your self in reflecting alone about your observations, the data. Essentially it is about seeking perspective.
- Seek the input and listening ear of a trusted advisor to share you reflections – a sounding board. No action yet…just do the work of uncomfortably sitting with the information whether coming in the form of data or reflections or observations…NO planning or action yet.
Deep Learning is the goal. If you are like most of my clients this is the hardest plan of action. You want to leap in and solve it. You are a doer, not a reflector! I get it and still I suggest you consider seeking some perspective first. This is the stage for surfacing all the insights; expand your awareness. You are not ready to look at options and certainly not for action…no where near ready!
Next time..we’re moving to get set in position..we’ll explore the curve!