Effective leaders pay attention to how well they’re managing themselves, because they know that when the first car in the train gets derailed, it’s not long before the entire train jumps off the tracks.
Here are 3 signs that you’re not managing yourself effectively (and how to fix it):
- Ignoring Your Rituals: Mature executives and elite performers share this in common: They both rely heavily on rituals. Your rituals, which may include an early morning run, a time of meditation, a refocusing on your vision statement, or a nightly review of next day priorities, are the deliberately cultivated habits that give your life stability, structure and stamina. Ignoring your rituals is a red flag that you’re not managing yourself effectively, so if this behavior describes you – stop what you’re doing and make sure you’re fully aware of the why behind what’s crowding out your ritual. Perhaps you’ve been operating in fear mode and you need to confront your fears head on. Or maybe you’re in a time of major transition and you need to modify your rituals to better fit your new circumstances. Or it could just be that everyday life has overwhelmed you, and you need a reminder of why your rituals are important to you. Whatever the reason, take your rituals seriously and get back on track. You’ll be the first to thank yourself that you did.
- Frustration Overflow: Frustration is an emotion best treated as a canary in a coal mine – a warning sign that you have unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems that are about to become poisonous. When frustrations are kept under control, creativity soars and tensions ease, but when you allow your frustrations to fester, it’s only a matter of time before your performance – and the health of your team and family – begins to suffer. So if you find your frustrations spilling over, call a ‘time out’ on yourself and immediately develop a plan of action. Because left unchecked, these frustrations will become simmering resentments that may boil over when you can least afford to deal with them.
- Caught in the Headlights: The saying, “like a deer caught in the headlights” refers to the phenomenon of deer freezing when they stare at the headlights of an oncoming car. Because they can’t see clearly and don’t know what to do, they end up doing nothing at all. As a leader, it’s easy to get caught in the headlights when you spend too much time trying to solve problems by yourself that are too big or complex to take on alone. Every leader can relate to feeling stuck in the face of overwhelming obstacles, but if it happens too frequently, take it as a warning sign that you’re not utilizing your support systems effectively. Support systems include your relationships with the people whom you can go to in your time of need, and the resources you can tap into when you’re tapped out of ideas. So if you find yourself caught in the headlights once too often, take a closer look at your support systems. And remember, going it alone is about your pride – not your performance.
So, which warning sign resonates most with you? And what are you going to do about it?
Decide today to begin paying closer attention to how well you’re managing yourself. Treat it as an investment in your leadership – and watch your effectiveness (and happiness) begin to soar.
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