Bad leadership is like bad breath – everyone except you knows you’ve got it.
I give a lot of leadership seminars. During the top takeaways discussions, someone invariably says, “This seminar was a reminder of things I learned about good leadership …”
The problem is that the person needs to practice better leadership. They know what good leaders should do but aren’t implementing the behaviors.
It’s the bad breath problem. You know you should have non-repulsive breath, but you don’t. That’s called unconscious incompetence.
You might have the finest ideas, but no one’s listening because they can’t get past your breath (metaphorically).
Leadership off-sites and workshops help the open-minded move toward conscious incompetence. You recognize that your behaviors impede rather than inspire people to contribute their best to your organization’s success.
It’s like putting your hand in front of your mouth for the first time.
Oh my … it’s no wonder these behaviors aren’t working.
Leadership training, if done well, helps you build conscious competence. You know better behaviors, and you consciously work to put them into practice.
The shortfall with conscious competence is that you spend so much energy concentrating on the behaviors that you can lose sight of your objectives.
It’s like the batter who concentrates so hard on every element of their swing – stand in this way, keep your hands here, put your elbow this high, etc. – that you miss the pitch or mess up your swing. You have too many details running through your head while you try to do your job.
You’ve spent some much time worrying about your breath that you stumble over the message.
You must move to unconscious competence, where the behaviors become second nature. In the military, we call it muscle memory. You’ve developed good habits that bring out the best in people, and those behaviors are now so ingrained that you don’t have to think about them.
The unconscious competence stage comes about through practice, feedback, and accountability. You practice the behaviors so they work for you and your employees and get the outcomes you desire. The fastest way to achieve success is with the right coaching.
Here’s a process you can follow to build successful leadership habits.
- Knowledge transfer through leadership books, seminars, talks, and candid assessments, helps you become conscious of incompetencies.
- Immersion in successful habits at off-sites and programs builds conscious competence.
- Implementation and accountability with the right coaching help you develop unconscious competence.
You unconsciously practice becoming an ever-better leader so your employees can focus on your goals.