Giving Leadership a Chiropractic Adjustment

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If it feels like your leadership is missing the mark, for you and for the people you serve, perhaps it’s time to give your leadership a chiropractic adjustment to bring who you are, what you do and the contribution you wish to make as a leader into alignment.

Many of our perceptions of what leadership is are founded in a time that no longer exists. In stable business environments leaders were thought to be a lot like captains of large vessels; setting the direction, commanding the crew, and making minor course corrections along the way. Managers in turn, followed orders, meted out assignments, controlled variability and “kept an even keel,” which meant not challenging authority with questions or ideas.

As stark as that seems, many of these underlying assumptions about leadership are still alive and well in organizations. They are often the source of significant misalignment between what leaders do and what people need in order to flourish in complex environments where many alternatives are viable, outcomes are hard to predict, and true north doesn’t show up on the compass any more.

Misalignment can look like:

  • Expecting people to know what is expected, even when the expectations continue to evolve
  • Not giving Millennials – or others – the feedback they need (and expect) to reinforce their learning and invite them to continue growing
  • Knowing you’re settling for “good enough” even though you know you have much more to offer
  • Avoiding conversations when you feel you don’t know “the answer” even though you know avoiding the conversation is making things worse.
  • Not respectfully questioning “directives” that you know are likely to fall short of what’s needed or cause unintended problems

Here are a few coaching questions to help bring the gift of your leadership into alignment with who you are and the contributions you’d like to make for the people you lead. Pick one or two that you like and play with them:

  • What is the difference that you want to make? Why does it matter to you? What is one step you can take to move the needle on making that a reality?
  • What do your people need from you that they’re not getting? Not sure? Ask them. Or notice what you need that you’re not getting. You may find clues there.
  • How can you help to build the confidence of others to so they can move with change more easily? You many need to start small. That’s okay.
  • What’s one old leadership habit that’s getting in your way? Not sure? Ask a trusted colleague or two. They may risk telling you if they believe you’re sincere
  • What are the few bigger questions that truly need to get asked and answered in your area? How can you engage others in exploring those with you?
  • What do you need to say or do to bring your leadership more into alignment with your values? What’s kept you from taking action so far? Who can help you with that?

Chiropractic adjustments rarely stay put the first time they’re made. Muscles need to relax, old habits sometimes need to change, and adjustments often need to be made again before the healthier realignment becomes stable. The same may be true of your leadership adjustments. Stay with them. Living in alignment feels so much better than the continuous compromises, big and small, that misalignment requires.

Dianna L. Anderson, MCC

CEO, Cylient

 

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