Leadership Develops Over Time…All the Time

A few years ago, I was coaching an executive who’s 360 peer review was quite critical. She took it hard and asked me if it was too late for her to develop the skills the 360 pinpointed she lacked. I vividly remember the sound of her voice, it was infused with resignation and confusion. She was scared.

It’s Not Too Late to Achieve

I responded by asking her if she thought it was too late (because I knew it wasn’t). I explained that the fear and confusion she felt was normal given how often the mind focuses on survival versus achievement. The only place “too late” existed was there. As long as we’re willing to listen to the objective evidence and allow people to contribute to us, we can grow and prosper.

Being Vulnerable is a Leadership Trait…

To lead, it’s essential to let yourself be a bit vulnerable. It makes you approachable and genuine. It drives the flexibility to experiment with different behaviors to achieve the leadership skills required in today’s business world. My client’s 360 exposed some areas of vulnerability in her and how she chose to react would demonstrate her character and leadership.

…Blame Isn’t

One area upon which she focused was blame.  In the past, she was critical of those who didn’t come through with results, blaming them for their shortcomings. She began to realize the benefit of understanding her direct report’s strengths and aiding them in their developmental areas. She realized that she could truly contribute to each one of them in their development versus orphaning them. Executive development is all about growth, not blame. She lost her fear and began to confidently lead her team forward, something they all wanted and appreciated.