Blind Spot # 3 – Over Reliance On What Has Worked In The Past

Leaving behind what has worked in the past is a very difficult shift for most leaders to make. It is akin to saying goodbye to old friends and relationships that one has outgrown. It is not only cognitively difficult, because those “pathways” added value in the past, but also emotionally draining as one comes to rely on them, and feel a sense of loyalty closeness and familiarity towards them that is difficult to replace. Competencies required for the next-level leaders are new, unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  Practicing these competencies will initially make the leader feel less in control and less competent. However, the “learning mindset” calls for leaders to stretch themselves into new opportunities and exercise new skills that require patience and diligent practice before they become second nature. In her seminal book “Mindset- The New Psychology of Success,” Carol Dweck depicts the differences between the “fixed” and the “learning” mindsets. She describes how stretching into learning may mean that short term performance may temporarily deteriorate—like Tiger Woods changing his swing slightly. However, if one is patient and goes through the learning journey, performance is disproportionately improved. Next-level skills usually include higher levels of emotional and social intelligence and influencing skills. In addition, next-level leaders have to be increasingly more comfortable with ambiguity and relying on others to make decisions and lead. At higher levels in the organization, leaders are often asked to manage businesses that they are less familiar with and the abilities to trust, teach, and delegate are vital to success.  This implies that the leader allocates more of his or her focus to coaching and developing others.

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