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/ Dec 5, 2016

How Working On The Self Helps Executives Become Leaders

Posted by Jay Hedley

Running a business has never been easy; this is something we can all agree on. For company executives to achieve their goals, they have to work as enlightened leaders, not only to achieve their own goals, but to greatly influence the persons around them. But in order to do that, executives need to prevail over some obstacles within themselves as human beings.

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Overcoming The Structure Of The Self:

One of the biggest issues facing executives is their own structure of the self. The ego of the executives often gets in the way of their capacity to lead, and this can be demonstrated in two ways. The first one is caring too much. The executive wants to be liked, and feel like they need to be validated by other persons. They feel the need to please others and give too much weight to their opinions.

This often gets in the way of making hard decisions and doing what needs to be done, even though it’s difficult or disagreeable. This type of executive end up unable to make difficult decisions or have uncomfortable conversations with their subordinates in fear of being cast in a negative light and to be seen as too severe, or too “mean”.  These executives care more about what the system requires from them, and thus, they can’t seem to do the hard tasks in fear of being disliked.

 

But, there are two faces to this coin. The structure of self can be reverse, and the person is then too self-centric, assertive, and self-oriented, and so, they come across to persons around them as bullying or aggressive, even though all they’re trying to do is to be directive.

This is especially true for senior executives. They struggle greatly with engaging, connecting, relating or building quality relationships, which undermines their capacity to be leaders, and so, they end up being disliked by persons around them.

Executives in the first situation have to understand one important thing: They give too much meaning to other persons’ opinions, and as a result, they end up not being responsible for their own thinking and feeling. And all of this is, deep down, because of their own shadowed perception of themselves. Leaders who want persons who like them have the self belief structure that they’re not likable, and so, they do the impossible to please persons around them.

 

Executives in this situation need to let go of caring about what other persons think about them, and start caring from a higher perspective, for the whole, for what they’re trying to achieve, and they need to think about why they need to take the difficult decision at the first place.

As soon as they let go of the lower perspective, which is the self and others, they will be able to work for the greater outcome. They will become more strategic, and they will start to understand what needs to be changed in order for the organization to become more efficient and more effective.

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Being vs. Doing:

Executives who want to become better at what they do will have to be more being-oriented than doing-oriented.

Being-oriented executives care about the present, they let go of the construct and of what persons think to become transparent, open, collective, relative, facilitative. They can keep their eye on the bigger picture, and they can craft and create their vision.

Doing-oriented executives are more about what’s practical, performances, tasks, behaviors, and the behaviors. As a result, they find no time for creative, facilitative leadership.

In order to move from the “doing-oriented phase” to the “being-oriented phase”, executives need first and foremost to understand how “human maturation” happens, especially within them. They have to find their blind spots and understand what is holding and maintaining their current way of being, and that’s when coaching comes in the equation. Just like a high-end athlete, an executive needs a coach to help them see where their blind spots are.  

 

Most executives are successful despite themselves, and so, they don’t think about looking for their blind spots, and that can block their development. And that is exactly why they need a coach, who will provide them with an objective perspective.

We have a saying here: “An executive’s actual success is their potential failing as a human being”, that means they get so successful, they stop looking for their blind spots, they stop that drive to become better, so they end up not getting to the higher level drives, that we call “the enlightenment drive”, which is a drive for the truth.

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FURTHER READING
How Executives Become Enlightened Leaders By Digging Deeper