What if we didn’t have to “look good” all the time?
While visiting the Atlanta Zoo I walked by a sign: “Pardon Our Progress”. Of course I have seen signs like this before, but something struck me about this particular one. Instead of being posted on a fake wall or some other nice looking temporary façade, this was posted to a chain link fence with the construction in progress visible.
Their progress was not very pretty.
The reality is, whenever you are bringing something new into existence, the process is not likely to be neat and tidy. The same is true when we are developing ourselves as leaders.
Our leadership is always “under construction”.
Whenever you deviate from what has become “tried and true” for you, you are probably going to stumble a bit. You will make mistakes. You may even look bad to those around you on occasion.
Yet unless you actually extend yourself beyond your comfort zone into new ways of doing things or seize an opportunity that stretches you, meaningful and satisfying progress is not likely.
Is having to look good, maintaining a façade that you have it all together, keeping you from really stretching yourself and becoming the leader you aspire to become?
If it is, here are 3 simple strategies for getting the support you need to successfully navigate through the messiness of progress.
1. Know Your Why
Unless your reason for changing and growing is significantly more compelling than the comfort of staying the same and feeling in control of how others see you, you won’t risk doing whatever it will take to make progress.
2. Create Your Personal Network of Support
Choose 2-5 people who you trust and who believe in you to share your aspirations for your leadership. Be very selective. Make sure these are people who will stand for your growth rather than be threatened by it.
3. Get a coach.
Have you noticed that world class athletes always have a coach? A great coach helps you stay clear and focused on your end goal in spite of the inevitable messiness you encounter. They will also guide and support you through the more challenging periods of growth on your path to becoming the leader you want to become.
Coaching done well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance. Atul Gawande
What about you? Are you willing to risk hanging out the “pardon our progress” sign?
One last thought…We say we want leaders to be more authentic. Perhaps being willing to risk revealing even just a bit more of the messiness of our progress is a step in the direction of authenticity.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information on how I can support you as a coach in taking your leadership to the next level.