In this series we have been talking to some of our Partners who have been sharing their Top 5 Leadership Lessons. In this blog, Christian Scholtes, Chair of TPC Leadership and Managing Partner of our Romanian office shares his.
Regulate your Ego
Leadership increases inherently the exposure to complexity and of tension, while the amount of genuine, straightforward feedback is likely to decrease. As such, it creates ideal conditions for your defence mechanisms to get activated, and for you to take yourself all too seriously. Hence why it is crucial to undergo some personal development processes, which will allow you to become aware of your deeply-rooted assumptions and scripts, and to de-structure them, for a cleaner, less polluted, interaction with your ever changing environment.
What’s bothering teams is not a leader who is necessarily a tad too demanding, or too friendly, but one who is rather absent, a foggy presence, a ‘forwarding emails’ kind of an individual. It’s a key part of your role as a leader to have a lively presence, to bring energy into the room, to laugh and to suffer with your team. Your people need to know that you are a three-dimensional human being, who enjoys interacting openly with other complex, difficult, lovely human beings.
If we keep being all too well-behaved during meetings, we’re only going to share what we’re really thinking after the meeting. Hence why it’s important for you as a leader to normalise the presence of debate and disagreement, to embed it structurally in the flow of key decision-making meetings. Your people are usually well connected to the day-to-day realities of the organisation – what you have to do is to create premises for their diverse opinions to be openly expressed. Chances are, the outcome of the meeting will be a wiser and richer one in the end – a decision that accepts that the truth is usually a multifaceted, complex construct.
Dance with Ambiguity
Given that we’re part of a highly turbulent world, where traditional patterns are disrupted and existing habits become the new limitation, you may as well accept that pretty much nobody knows what’s the right way forward (even though some may pretend so). Not being able to define even what the problem actually is, is by itself highly liberating – you might as well enjoy the agile approach of testing hypotheses in open-ended experimentation (something you used to be really good at, when you were still a child).
It may be tempting and it even sounds reasonable to accept the half-measure. The candidate who isn’t quite there in terms of attitude, but has some impressive technical skills in their CV. The decision that doesn’t address the root cause, but brings some really nice cosmetics to the situation. The budget that’s neither here nor there, which doesn’t actually cover the needed resources, while still pretending to do so. It’s highly likely that the cost of the longer-term problem will by far exceed the momentary relief. As such, by accepting compromises, you’re only reinforcing the system’s dysfunctions which invited you to do the compromise.
Have a leadership challenge? Feel free to contact us, to see how we can support.