The intuitive answer may well be no, but having a natural propensity for leading is not the same as never needing guidance. Natural born leadership is a misnomer in many ways and yet, there are common personality traits that make leading more appealing for some and thus more practiced by this same group. Those same traits, no matter how effective in leading, when overused, create struggles. So what is a leader to do who’s been leading all his or her life and finds himself in a position of facing strife because the old methods, the practiced habits, and natural traits aren’t solving the problem? Coaching is a viable and valued solution, particularly in these areas:
Leaders who possess commonly called natural born leader traits, or what is incorrectly referred to as Type A behaviors, are ambitious, competitive, driven, results oriented, love a challenge and relish the chance to get stuff DONE! The faster they can get it off their list, the better their life is, however, this also means these leaders tend to move at break neck speed and might miss a few things. A lack of awareness of how intense they appear to others is dangerous. A lack of awareness of how these leaders come across, when even slightly stressed, is a blind spot. A lack of awareness of how much they delegate, to whom and how often, is what creates difficult employee labels and long term problems. A coaching program with an emotional intelligence focus will make this leader aware of how he or she is perceived and the impact that perception has on his or her long term influence. Leadership without this awareness quickly turns into task management with high levels of turnover. However, with a bit of practice and an individual guide on the side a leader with this struggle will be able to put preventative measures in place and eliminate time consuming damage control that leaves them fearing an inefficient interruption in their fast pace.
Many times these same leaders’ natural traits are what got them promoted in the first place. They were aggressive in going after their goal or desired position and diligent about removing barriers, even taking team members with them. However, this same aggressive behavior when put in the pressure cooker of a busy day, a deal that went south, or an employee popping off at the mouth instead of doing their job, can leave a leader reacting in ways that may force a search for their next job. Corporate cultures tend not to tolerate the overly aggressive, loud, bossy, or even bullying leader, regardless of whether she is indeed, the highest achiever. Coaching in this case focuses on the skill of stress management. What triggers or hot buttons are easily pressed and when they are, how does that leader mitigate their emotions or reaction? The striving for success that does come naturally for some can become dogmatic, controlling, and domineering behavior in the right environment and once certain words have been said there is little or nothing that can take them back. In these instances coaching can save a career, instead of the leader learning this lesson through trial and error.
Periodically I will share notes of suggestion with an Executive Coaching client who, while he’s very adept with numbers and finances, needs little or no outward appreciation for his personal or professional efforts. Appreciation from others is just not his thing, so to speak. But, because of his lack of inherent need to hear “great job” or see “pom poms” from anyone, he forgets others like and need to hear how he feels and what he believes about their quality of work. Natural born leaders are often very good at development of skills, patiently providing instruction and certainly their own individual accomplishment. They do these things because they are intrinsically driven to excel, so externally providing praise for others never crosses their radar or mind. Coaching in this area covers varying types of praise and those personalities who value it most. It reminds this leader to remember to boast about his or her team members. Coaching would also guide this leader to understand more fully the unique combination and power of emotional intelligence and motivation.
Natural born leaders are merely people with the currently desired personality traits of those considered to be successful. There is no stamp in the maternity ward that identifies these people. Yet, as our value of strong leadership traits, and a clear societal definition of what those are, persists, even those who naturally bring these traits to the workplace, need practice to refine using them. As none of us, leader or otherwise, can see objectively our own behaviors with our own eyes, a qualified coach becomes a trusted advisor and guides the leader to become stronger, faster, and better, which in turn helps leaders develop even more leaders. The greatest athletes, naturally built to perform, have coaches to perform better. Celebrity singers who made it through a season of Idol, have coaches to sing better. Leaders who’ve risen to the top with natural abilities, don’t stop with just what comes naturally. They hire a coach to help them become and continue to grow as better leaders.
For more information on the Contagious Companies management and Executive level coaching programs, go to www.ContagiousCoaching.com or call 1-866-382-0121.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!