Your Pain Points

By Jeff Saari

Effective Leadership

In a session this morning my client told me that the reason he has become more effective in his leadership is because he had a ‘humbling’ experience last year.  This manager almost didn’t make it in his organization as his behavior over time had become toxic.  He first came to me after this humbling experience and he and I have done some really great, challenging and fun work together.  The humbling experience was getting 360 feedback in the organization which was largely critical, as well as being put on the chopping block if he didn’t turn around.  I like his story so much because it illustrates that 1. we can turn around, and 2. we need to know what our blind spots or pain points are in order to grow.

Just as in the body pain points need to be identified and then released through manipulation, heat, rolling on rollers, etc., our psychological/emotional world need the same.  With coaching this manager was able to roll out the kinks in his emotional reactions and intellectual disturbances by learning skills and looking at what he wanted to create.  Instead of solely focusing on what isn’t working, we started to use appreciation, relationship building, skill building and team building to create a better leadership and team experience.  I have seen many pain points that leaders either know or get to know when I am on their watch.

Pain Points/Blind Spots

I have documented many such pain points/blind spots that I believe as leaders (or anyone) gets more intimate with, they can become less and sometimes obliterated.  Here is a non-exhaustive list.  See if any fit for you, deep inside.  See if you can identify one or two or (heavens-no) all of them and say them out loud:

  • Getting through to a defensive manager/managee
  • Fear of conflict
  • Figuring out capacity
  • How to say no
  • Letting go of control and let others help
  • Too much in the weeds
  • Holding others accountable; pleasing others
  • Work/life balance
  • Vague projects/procrastination
  • Speaking up/self-advocacy
  • Unaware of impact on others
  • Trusting your gut
  • Lack of systems
  • Delivery too brash
  • Lonely at the top
  • Dealing with change
  • Inspiring a vision
  • Managing friends
  • Managing other’s employees
  • Lack of org chart clarity
  • Turnover
  • No leadership training
  • Assessing when to fire someone
  • Co-managing an employee
  • Getting people committed
  • Getting annual reviews done

Can you see yourself in any of these?  Are there others?  I would love to hear about your pain points.  As you self-identify (or have others identify them for you!) you can look at how you want to address it/them.  I can think of nothing better to do than to become a better manager and thus person.

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