I’ve been noticing a trend lately with a lot of my clients; especially those assuming new levels of responsibility or wanting to shift to working at a more strategic level. They have a really, REALLY hard time delegating. This is clearly a leader’s edge. As I’ve worked with them I’ve noticed a few common themes and beliefs that are barriers to delegation.
Recently I worked with a client who shared that life was great. He is maximizing his strengths, he’s living in alignment with his values, he’s passionate about his work, loves his colleagues and the stimulating work environment he’s blessed to be part of. Yes, he’s working hard and long hours but it’s gratifying on so many levels. So, he pondered why engage in coaching when everything is good. Such a great question.
Today is an official snow day; the second in a row. As I peer outside, our world has transformed to a fluffy white winter wonderland of over 40 cm of snow. The official institutions of the world – schools, universities, city services – have declared themselves closed. So, our world is slowing down. We are staying close to home. We are having moments of stillness. Not by choice and yet it’s a delectable indulgence.
A dominant complaint in team dynamics is silo thinking. Leaders want their teams to work collaboratively and call us in to “Bust Silo’s”. However, busting silo’s can feel harsh and aggressive. The desire to break down silos is usually to inspire more collaboration, efficiency, sharing of strengths and talent while achieving the global goals and mission of the organization. It’s human nature to defend what we care about. If there is any threat to our primary identity, we fight to protect it. So, if a team development session is billed as a “Busting Silo’s” event you can gaurantee that people will show up prepared to defend their territory. So what is a different way of achieving collaboration other than Busting Silo’s? In our work we refer to it as Building Bridges.
In North America, we live in a culture that promotes independence and self confidence. These attributes above all else, are seen as indicators of success. In promoting this, we are marginalizing the voice of “I don’t know”. Instead, people are praised for putting on a brave face that they’ve got everything together…they know the answers. And if they don’t, they will figure it out. What I am describing above is becoming one of the hot topics for the clients that we coach. These leaders are often feeling they must carry the burden of solutions on their shoulders alone. They believe it is not safe to reveal what they don’t know, nor is it safe to ask for help…or so they think.
In order to hold the big picture and vision and stay grounded as a leader, it is vital to intentionally nurture yourself. Here are some tips we use when working with leaders.
1. Create a monthly or weekly practice for connecting with your vision and purpose.
2. Create a vision story for your life or business.
3. Ask for help.
4. If stuck, change perspective