Excelling as a leader

By Karin Leonard

Whether you are a business owner, a manager or a top-level executive, you interact, direct and engage with others every day.  You are likely to be bright, highly skilled and shine at what you do – that is what makes you successful.  The question is, could you become an even better leader?  Below we examine typical factors that can facilitate a quantum leap in leadership ability.

Build Bridges and Boundaries

Tom, director of marketing at a booming software company, has a talent for getting the job done.  They call him “Just-do-it-Tom”.  However, his efficiency at moving forward comes with a certain abruptness.  Tom does not take time out to consider others, and he often offends employees as well as customers.  By not establishing rapport, Tom is loosing long-term effectiveness.  Balancing tasks with the importance of honoring relationship is more successful in the end.

If you are typically more goal-oriented than relationship-oriented, experiment with meeting others where they are, before you lead in the direction you want to go.  In case you tend to be too relationship centered and find that you do not get enough things done, set clear boundaries with others about your availability.

Lead with Mutual Respect

Lisa, senior manager at a pharmaceutical firm, has what it takes to be promoted to a director position.  She has winning ideas, and gets along well with employees and coworkers.  However, Lisa tends to hold back in meetings and does not provide strong enough leadership with her direct reports.  Lisa, for fear of being perceived as aggressive, fails to be assertive when necessary.  Learning to distinguish healthy assertiveness from aggression is key to effective leadership.  Assertiveness is built on mutual respect, and assumes that both parties can win.  Become more at ease with asserting what you want by gradually extending your comfort zone:  take small risks, make clear requests and only agree to what you can and want to do.

Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

These days, being a leader and having a life out of balance are almost synonymous.  However, to have your career and your health last, make self-care a priority.  This is a must.  Burnt-out leaders are no good to anyone – neither workplaces nor their families.  Just like your friendly flight attendant asks you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then on your child, approach life by attending to your own needs on the front end.  This means taking care of body, mind and soul, and building a sustainable rhythm of work, home and play.  What can you do this coming week to head toward a more balanced life?

Excel through Executive Coaching

Bill, CEO of a manufacturing firm, is perceived to be highly successful.  What his staff and clients do not know is the extreme daily pressure he is under.  Bill strives to be a good leader while increasing sales.  Even though he collaborates quite well with his management team, Bill feels quite alone in many of the decisions he needs to make. 

The closer you are to the top, the lonelier it gets.  High-level executives have extreme visibility, yet few if any colleagues they can turn to for advice.  Nonetheless, just like the rest of us, they are only human and have blind spots.  Executive coaching can provide the confidential support and individualized development to allow the best to excel, making their achievements sustainable.  Receiving coaching is not a sign of weakness, but the perfect opportunity to build on existing strengths.  If you or the leaders of your organization want to go to the next level and stay there, executive coaching may be for you.


For information:   

Karin Leonard & Associates:  (831) 724-5400  

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E-mail karin@innerevolution.com.



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