Are You The problem? Examine Your Leadership ROA

Jun 13, 2023

No one likes to hear that they are the problem, especially if they're the leader. I get it. Over the years, it has been difficult for me to accept such statements. Vulnerability engulfs us, and uncertainty and doubt create cloudy thinking, which creates hesitation. Muscles constrict. Our vision narrows. Everything turns inward, and we find ourselves constantly judging ourselves and everything we do.

In such moments, it's easy to become immobilized, unsure of which way to turn.

If you've experienced these feelings, you've encountered an existential leadership moment that will shape your future opportunities. When faced with such a situation, you have two options: PEDAL FASTER or EXPLORE.

Most of us choose to PEDAL FASTER. We believe that what we've been doing for years is really the right thing and that we just need to do it faster or better. While that may be the case at times, the real issue often lies in what we are doing. Our established rhythm of action, developed over years of leadership, may no longer be in sync with the world we live in today. The only path left that leads to a better future is exploration.

Here's a way to EXPLORE that can help you avoid the self-loathing that accompanies facing your own leadership mortality.

Examine your Leadership ROA.

As leaders, we all develop a rhythm of action. This rhythm of action shapes the results we currently achieve and is referred to as your Leadership ROA.

Your Leadership ROA consists of four elements: what you do, how you do things, when you do them, and who you do them with. Improving your leadership and its impact on your team's performance requires making adjustments in one or more of these four areas.

  1. What you do – It's possible that you are focusing on the wrong things. For example, you may spend most of your time telling instead of asking questions and listening. Instead of solely concentrating on the numbers, consider focusing on the factors that drive those numbers.
  2. How you do things – You might be doing the right things, but your approach could use improvement. Perhaps you need to enhance your questioning techniques or find better ways to engage people in the problem-solving process.
  3. When you do things – Timing plays a significant role. If a problem exists, but you wait until next week to address it, people are likely to forget what actually happened.
  4. Who you do it with – Are you addressing issues with the right people? I often see leaders complaining to other leaders about their teams without directly addressing the concerns of their team members. Having difficult conversations may not be easy, but it's far better than dealing with inconsistent performance, poor morale, and frustration.

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