Greg did a great job aligning his team on a bold new future. Now they needed to step up their leadership to deliver on their promise. First Greg wanted to start doing things differently so that he could be a role model for his team as someone who was willing to step up his own leadership. Stephen R Covey asks a great question in his timeless book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?” Greg’s response to Covey’s question was that he would devote more time to the people around him, his team, clients, peers, external stakeholders and less time on solving technical problems.
In the process of breaking his habit of solving day to day detail problems, Greg was altering how he viewed himself. He wanted to become a game-changing leader and to adopt the habits that would support him to make a big difference. He was shifting his fundamental belief, that as an introvert, he was only capable of solving technical problems and a story he told himself that he did not have what it takes to be a great people leader.
The stories we tell ourselves shape how we behave and live our lives. But there is new evidence that what we tell ourselves, particularly our beliefs about who we are, are malleable and that we can change them if they no longer serve us. In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear suggests that changing our fundamental identity-based habits will have a more profound effect than simply changing our outcome or process habits. He explains that outcome-based habits are focused on our goals, e.g. losing weight. Process habits are about how we get there, e.g. going to the gym. But identity-based habits are focused on who we wish to become, e.g. someone who loves exercise. As Greg changes his identity habits, he is shifting from seeing himself as a technical problem solver to a game-changing leader. Others are seeing him in the same light as he adjusts his habits.
What could you do differently to take your leadership to a new level?
Best regards, Brian
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