A few months back, I got to work with a fairly new leadership team. All of the leaders had been in their positions less than two years, some only a few months. The session focused on their behaviors (how they do the job) as well as their values/motivators (why they do the job). The goal was to make sure that by understanding their own behaviors, they could work together as a team, and learn to manage well.
As the session kicked off, it was clear that individuals on this team had one thing in common: very extreme behavioral styles. What I mean is that behaviors are typically measured on a 0 to 100 scale. Extreme behaviors are when the scores are either in the 90 to 100 range, or 0 to 10 range. To make this even more interesting, these leaders would have scores of 98 in one category, and 3 in another so the distance between behaviors was like a chasm.
More extreme styles make it hard to modify your behavior. Modifying your behavior takes the energy and the conscious choice to behave differently.
How do you think you feel after a day of modifying your behavior? Mentally and physically exhausted.
If you get home and you are spent, think about what the day required. Did you have to focus on the details of that report that was due? Did you have to make those calls, go to those meetings, or make a presentation? Gauging your energy helps you identify when you needed to modify your behaviors.
Reflecting on your style and what you may need to modify is a great way to improve your ability to do it. If not, the exhaustion of one day will reduce your capacity to modify your behaviors the next. Losing your ability to modify your behaviors can be disastrous for your career or relationships.
One of the leaders was significantly modifying their behavior (we can measure both natural styles and modified styles). The change between the two styles was amazing. This leader was taking their foot off the gas for results (problems) and deliberately connecting with others (people). I had to press in and ask about this change.
“Your change in style is pretty amazing, can you tell me how you feel after work?”
“How are you able to do this, and why are you doing it?”
“When I look at my natural style, I Hate That Guy. I make the choice to be a better leader than the leaders who formed me.”
“Can you continue to do it?”
“Yes, my people deserve better.”
I said it before, don’t wear your particular style as a badge of honor. There are things that you do that impact others…in a negative way. Pick one thing this week and work on modifying it. In time, your natural style begins to shift towards that style, and it is less work to do it. You will be tired at first. It will be hard at first, but our people deserve better.