Most leadership mistakes start with the leader’s own sense of identity – or lack thereof. How to keep your flaws from sabotaging your leadership.
Even a good leader like you makes mistakes. But a good leader learns from each one, so we rarely make the same mistake twice. Or do we?
In some recent research, I have been examining the mistakes that even successful leaders make, and the lessons they learn. I’ve come to understand that most individuals stumble over the same kinds of leadership tripwires, again and again. Even with the benefit of experience, reflection, feedback, data and coaching, they have made the same mistakes twice — or more.
Why? There’s an important missing link between recognizing our vulnerabilities and anticipating when we might fall victim to them again. Here’s how you can build that missing link, and avoid making the same leadership mistakes twice.
Tripwires of leadership fall into three categories: tripwires of identity, tripwires of clarity, and tripwires of delivery. By far the biggest category, both in terms of frequency and impact, are the those of identity. These are triggered by who we are as people — our own traits, characteristics, behaviors, perspectives, biases, idiosyncrasies. These characteristics include a long list of favorites: ego, defensiveness, will, desire to please, desire not to “rock the boat,” insecurity, compulsiveness, aggressiveness, passive-aggressiveness, perfectionism, impulsiveness, stubbornness, arrogance and hubris.
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