Habit 3 of 7

This is the third installment of the series on habits that get in the way of effective leading.  We’ve looked at the difficulties caused by both Hinting and Complaining and assigning a false meaning.  This week’s habit is inflexibility.

When I was new to business, I was sure I had figured out the “best” way to do things… my way, of course! I was also sure that others needed to follow my instructions rather than think for themselves. I was wrong. 

I’ve learned, over the years, that my way is not always the only, best, or right way. How did I arrive at this conclusion? The age-old teacher called experience. I’ve been through some training.  I’ve watched my managers conduct meetings and listened to what my co-workers had to say during them.  I’ve learned to offer my opinion as a suggestion, rather than the law, and found that other meeting attendees are generally far more interested in suggestions than in commands.  

Habit 3: It’s My Way or the Highway.

There are as many definitions of “normal” as there are people to define it because normal to us is what is normal for us.  “Normal” also translates as “right,” and each of us naturally believes that our way is the right way.  If others have the audacity to disagree with us and choose a different direction, we immediately try to impose our process on them to ensure they complete the task correctly.  We want and expect our teammates, colleagues, and direct reports to do things the way we do it – the “right” way.

Heathier Habit:  Assign a task to be completed, not a process to be followed.  Practice controlling the urge to immediately disregard someone else’s way of doing things for the sole reason that it doesn’t align with yours.  When you are taking the breath to begin the speech explaining that they are wrong and you are right, stop. Just stop.  You may struggle at first to even consider that there may be an alternative that works as well as your way does, but the more you resist the urge to correct others (also known as micromanaging), the easier it will become. Even if you initially believe the alternative will fail, as much as is reasonably possible, give others the chance to learn and grow; support the new and different approach. You will likely be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

In a sentence, we all need to be aware of this:  Multiple perspectives improve processes and bring fresh insights to projects.  Set an expectation for the outcome desired, not the process of getting there – allow the other person to achieve the results, even when they don’t do it exactly as you would.

I can help you intentionally identify your habit of refusing to let others manage their work and take another step on the path of growing into a truly excellent leader.  Let’s chat!


P.S.  Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!

P.P.S.  With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader.  My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching.  I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.