Every great leader recognizes when things need to change and takes action, but most observers don’t see the most difficult decisions that successful leaders make. Those decisions are when they need to transform themselves. Unlike butterflies, leaders don't transform naturally. It is a deliberate choice that requires self-awareness and vision.
Steve Jobs transformed from a brilliant techie to an inspirational leader of a company that became one of the most valuable in the world. Mary Barra started her career at General Motors as a co-op student and is now the company’s CEO working on a critical culture change. Howard Schultz started his career as a salesperson for Xerox and became the leader that transformed Starbucks from a store that sold coffee beans into the omnipresent cafe chain that we know today. Like butterflies, these people transformed themselves many times along the way.
Each of them had many jobs and faced many situations that came with new demands requiring that they continually develop their skills. As each of them were presented with obstacles throughout their careers, these leaders had to think of themselves in new ways and behave differently to be successful.
As I look back on my career, I realize that I had some early successes and those successes went to my head and arrested my development. I thought that I knew what I was doing and found myself saying things like, All of the things that worked for me in X company, are not working here.” Duh! I was in a different situation and should have known that what worked for me as a first line manager wouldn’t work for me as a director.
Recently, a day of closet cleaning made me realize how hard it is to let go of personal things. It is even harder to let go of familiar aspects of ourselves that we have grown accustomed to. Unless we can open ourselves up to letting go of some aspects of ourselves, we will not be able to move into new roles and be the leaders that we want to be.
QUESTION: How do you recognize when you need to change?======================================================================
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.