There are so many ways we can evaluate a leader’s effectiveness, but I’ve learned that there are two real tests that a leader needs to pass if he is to achieve and maintain success. Throughout my now over 20 years’ experience as a leader, I’ve been put through these two tests several times. Most of the times, I’ve past but there were times when I didn’t. It was in those times that my leadership skills grew the most.
In order to achieve and maintain success there are several tips, traits and actions one can take. This article is not about that. This article is about the two tests one must go through in order to maintain your success. If you are a leader, you will eventually confront one and chances are high that you will even confront both tests.
What are these 2 Tests of Leadership Effectiveness
TEST 1: Can you Beat Yourself?
I’ve seen it happen so many times before. A leader, new to his role, smashes the results of his predecessor. The leader becomes a hero in the eyes of his team and direct report. Then 12 months later, this leader is faced with beating his own results. Now the game changes.
The planning it takes to achieve success during a previous mediocre year, either your own or from a previous leader, is different from facing results from a successful year. I have a manager who is currently going up against her own amazing performance of last year. Let me tell you that she is not in her comfort zone. She is finding herself in new waters and having difficulty with not meeting her numbers.
She is still the same competent leader, but is now questioning her abilities. My focus in that store is to help her change her mindset. Instead of seeing the mountain ahead (huge numbers to beat), I am having her focus on the 2-3 actions she Must take daily to achieve her goals. I want her to focus on the small wins she can achieve in order to gain momentum, so she can WIN Big later on.
What worked last year won’t necessarily work this year since the market tends to change from one year to the next. In order to beat yourself, identify your biggest roadblocks, then determine what you need to focus on in order to remove those obstacles and continue in your Growth.
Mindset is the key to Beating Yourself
TEST 2: Inspiring Through Rough Waters
It is much easier to inspire and be effective when results are strong. The real measure of your leadership is in how you manage the pressure when results are not there. Your capacity to not transfer your “negative” stress onto your team is a critical skill.
It is when times are tough and when the obstacles are strongest that your team needs you the most. I will never forget a previous leader that I worked with in the past. He was supportive, inspiring and found ways to push and challenge his team to reach heights they never thought possible. Then he went through a difficult personal time in his life. His demeanor changed and so did his leadership style. He became impatient and angry whenever a team member didn’t perform to standard. He was not the same leader. One day, I decided to confront him and had an honest conversation about his change. Luckily, he was open to the feedback and I can honestly say that he worked hard in returning to his former style.
[tweetthis]“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” —Publilius Syrus[/tweetthis]
Your team needs to feel like you are behind them no matter the situation. They need to feel challenged and inspired to meet high expectations. They need to know that you expect the best of them and will hold them accountable for their results. However, they also need to feel like it’s O.K. to make mistakes as long as they learn from these mistakes and use them to push the bar higher.
The skill required to pass this test is emotional intelligence. Specifically, your ability to identify, harness and manage your emotions in an effective way.
Have you faced these two tests before as a leader? How did you perform? Have you worked for a leader in the past that passed or failed these two leadership effectiveness tests?
If you are finding it difficult to navigate through difficult times, click on link to download, “15 Quotes to Guide You During Tough Times”
For a PDF version of this post click on the image below