Business man with Box on his head with a sad face

March Weekly Leadership Challenges No. 2 – The Selfless Leader

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Business man with Box on his head with a sad face

 

Introduction

Welcome to the second weekly leadership challenge for the month of March. See the first one here.

This mini-series was inspired by the fact that I coach a lot of different leaders in different market sectors but their challenges as leaders are often very similar.  I, therefore, wanted to share with you some common challenges that have been cropping up recently to see if they resonate with you and to help you overcome them if you wish to do so!

I’ve entitled this week’s leadership challenge – The Selfless Leader.

Read on to find out more and to see if you’re up for the challenge!

Why The Selfless Leader?

I’m Coaching two amazing guys at the moment.  One is the CEO of a start-up; another a freelance strategic consultant.  Two very different roles and yet the same major issue has surfaced for them both and it’s an increasingly common one amongst men.

They have lost sight of themselves.  The word ‘self’ has disappeared from their lives.

  • They have no time for themselves – it’s all work and no play
  • They put everyone else before themselves – clients, employees, children, wives, parents etc.
  • They’ve forgotten why they started doing this in the first place – what was in it for them? What was their purpose?
  • They’ve lost their core identities, they’re now just labels – CEO, Consultant, Boss, Father, Husband, Son and so on

Just a few examples amongst many.

To highlight the extremity of this, at one stage I asked the CEO:

“Where are you in all of this?”

And he replied:

“I have absolutely no idea!”

They have literally lost their sense of ‘self.’  They have all but disappeared, consumed by their workload, pressure and the numerous roles they’re expected to adopt.

If these clients were female, we might be less surprised, right?  This narrative has always been applied to women in the past.  So why would men be struggling in this way?

Why Men?

There is so much in the press right now about #TimesUp, #MeToo, equality, diversity and of course, as a woman, I’m all for it.  What is spoken about less, however, are the huge challenges on men in the workplace:

  • They are indeed predominantly the ones in leadership positions at a time of faster and greater change and disruption than there has ever been in the history of mankind
  • They remain, in the majority of cases, the primary breadwinner at home with the added pressure that inevitably produces
  • They are increasingly expected to do their fair share of domestic duties, cooking, parenting and so on – and many want to do it but struggle to find the time. They too experience guilt – it’s not purely a female emotion!
  • Many of those in their 40s and 50s can’t help but feel vulnerable at a time when people become billionaires in their 20s and most start-ups are launched by people under 35
  • Similarly, Millennials and Gen Z’s see these role models and want a bit of that too – constantly pushing for promotion and recognition as early as possible in their careers
  • Yet final salary pension schemes are a thing of the past, retirement ages are being pushed back, families are having children later in life, more kids are going to university and then coming back home again because they can’t afford to rent or buy a house. These guys need to earn!
  • Last, but not least, there is now talk of a climate of fear in the workplace. Some men feel judged, belittled and marginalised by all the negative press, the diversity policies, women-only candidate lists and the like.  Some say they’re no longer clear where their boundaries lie and feel concerned about spending time alone with women eg. in a recent survey about mentoring

The pressures on men are enormous.

No wonder with all that going on, there is a growing identity crisis amongst men and an increasing amount of angst and tension in the workplace.

What About Women?

Does the majority of this also apply to women in leadership positions?  Yes of course it does and possibly even more so, but the reality is that there are simply less of them.  Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for?

Weekly Leadership Challenge

Thus, my challenge to you this week is as follows:

Ask yourself if you have lost your sense of self as a leader.  Are you clear about who you are, what you want and need and why you’re doing what you’re doing?

If not, take some quality time out to re-connect with these things, chat to a friend/mentor or work with a coach.

Because without those things you cannot lead authentically, you cannot inspire others and you cannot motivate yourself.

All fundamental aspects of leadership.

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