Is my need for Certainty Hindering my Leadership?

Rebecca Livesey, Managing Director,
Achieve Lead Succeed

3 Certainty Strategies to Avoid as a Leader

In today’s world where the only constant is change, one of the greatest leadership qualities to develop is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As human beings we seek certainty but sometimes the way we get certainty doesn’t serve us or our teams.

So when picking a leadership program, make sure it’s one that pushes you outside your comfort zone. And choose experiential over classroom, so that you are learning in the moment rather than just theorizing.  We use horses for this because for most people they are unfamiliar! And we see three common unhelpful strategies play out again and again.

1. The Knowledge Hoarder

This is the person who ‘knows everything’ and will weigh in with their opinion on the subject regardless of depth of understanding or relevancy. Sometimes it’s the new person who regales you with what they used to do so well at their old place of work. Or sometimes it’s the person who won’t take action until every hypothetical ‘what if’ has been answered.

Knowledge Hoarders drive the team to take fewer chances, as they don’t want to explore new ideas for fear of being ‘wrong’.

2. The Controller

Certainty through control can manifest in many ways – micro managing, over processing, unnecessary bureaucracy, managing to the lowest common denominator, manipulation of emotions, bullying, putting people down, clinging onto the past, recruiting sycophants….

When leadership defaults to control we stifle the brilliance in the organisation.

3. The Avoider

Avoidance tends to be a quieter strategy than the previous ones.  It’s getting certainty through staying the same. It can manifest as being the last to have a go, or adopt a change, or choosing to remain ignorant, or avoiding the hard conversation.

If a leader excels at avoidance the team learns to hold back, accept low standards and not take opportunities for growth.

What to do instead

Understand that certainty is a state of being, not the amount of knowledge or control you think you need. It’s achieving your own significance through asking questions, not having answers. It’s asking ‘what do my team need from me right now to succeed?’ rather than making it about yourself.

In this way we create an environment for our team to realise their full potential together, while allowing a space for mistakes and growth.

Please feel free to contact us for a list of more great questions to jolt yourself out of these unhelpful strategies!

Rebecca Livesey | 0404 361927 |

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