Updated: Oct 30, 2020
By Dr. Femi Skanes
Throughout your entire career you’ve been taught what leadership looks like. Whether it was through classes, observing people in leadership positions, or being trained for a managerial role, you have a clear perspective on what leadership looks like. As you climb the leadership ladder to reach your highest potential, you’re proud to finally be in a position of real authority and leadership. You immediately implement everything you’ve learned about leadership.
What happens when those tools aren’t working? Before you know it, someone is always stopping by your office for a quick question. Your goal setting documents have fifty key levers for improvement and you are trying to lead too many new initiative efforts at one time. Now you are feeling extremely overwhelmed. What are you doing wrong?
Could the answer be that you aren’t doing anything wrong? Leadership EDGE, LLC believes leadership should be an evolving framework of actions that adjust to specific leadership models as opposed to a ‘one-action-fits-all’ approach.
Our ‘Leadership Unraveled Framework’ is an evolving framework that helps new and practicing leaders obtain success by building sustainable leadership models. The framework addresses common leadership expectations and then offers an alternate perspective to broaden the leadership lens.
It takes courage to try this framework because it contradicts many of the leadership lessons that have been held as our truth. Dr. Skanes outlines three examples of what we’ve been taught -our beliefs-versus the Leadership EDGE, LLC’s ‘Unraveled Leadership’ approach below. Once you unlearn outdated approaches to success, a whole new world of leadership opportunities will open up to you.
BELIEF -VS- UNRAVELED LEADERSHIP FRAMEWORK:
Belief: Effective leaders who communicate well must have an open door policy.
Unraveled Leadership: This model is unsustainable and does not build leadership capacity. Systems must be in place to address challenges that will arrive in any organization and there should be a clear chain of command to address the appropriate concern. Consider designating specific times on a calendar where you are free for people to drop by without appointments. Schedule your time wisely. You will never successfully complete a task if you do not learn when to open and close the door.
Belief: Successful leaders show immediate results that improve the entire organization.
Unraveled Leadership: Progress takes time. This is a difficult concept for goal-oriented leaders with a strong desire to effect change. It is virtually impossible to improve every organizational metric in a short period of time. It is more effective to keenly focus on three to five goals per year. Every organizational action should be aligned to these goals. If the action does not align to the goals, it is quite possible that it is not the right action at that time.
Belief: Rock star leaders are a “jack of all trades.”
Unraveled Leadership: There is some truth in this. Experienced leaders may be experts in many topics. However, this took time, practice, and some failures along the way to get to that level. However, evolving leaders should attempt to perfect their skills in one area every year or two. Select an area of focus then study, organize, plan, lead, and reflect on that specific area. It is the only way to build expertise. Attempting to tackle everything is akin to the hamster running on the wheel. He may appear to be going fast, but he’s simply running in circles.
Look in the mirror and say to yourself “I can do this!” Give yourself time and permission to unravel some of the unrealistic leadership lessons you’ve learned over the years. Focus on building strong relationships, systems, and realistic goals that can be sustained over long periods of time. You’ve worked hard to become a leader so lets focus on strategies that will last for years to come!