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New Study: #1 reason for leaders’ failure today, inability to build team relationships.

Old Problem: Weak leaders think they lead by doing stuff.

At least that’s my interpretation of the study reported on Forbes last week by commentator Holly Green. While I generally agree with the Holly’s advice – have a vision/mission and share it, walk the walk, listen, foster teamwork etc… – I don’t think that gets to the heart of the problem.

The problem is that we think leadership is something you can do. It’s not. It’s something you are. And the only way to tap into the leader YOU are inside is to go there.

Be introspective. Know who you are. Understand your own unique power so you can use it effectively to accomplish what you set your business intention on. Be a scientist and experiment.

When you’ve got a handle on who you are, then you can do stuff that leads others by example and guidance. Then your actions have real power.

What does this look like in action?

  • Pay attention to what you are thinking and how you are speaking – watch how others around you respond.
  • Manage your thoughts and words carefully to create the kind of behavior in others you want based on what you put into the world.
  • Watch what happens when you think and do X vs. Y and choose to do X or Y in the future – intentionally – based on that experience.
  • Pay attention to what is a good expenditure of energy for you and what – by contrast – pays little dividend. Use your personal energy more wisely as the months pass.
  • Keep experimenting.

The problem? Too few go spelunking in their insides to gain this perspective.

The solution? Dig deep inside yourself to master your own internal resources – your thoughts, your energy – to gain the personal power to master your external actions and become an amazing leader of teams, divisions and organizations.

I spent much of last week doing some of this work in team power-building training with mid-level government execs teaching them to look at power paradigms in groups and corporate culture – and how to shape them intentionally through their own behavior. We had a blast and I loved how the lightbulbs kept going off when they saw their own personal roles within the group more clearly. They loved it too. It can be done.

PS-Taking a break for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a relaxed holiday and uses this precious time – when few people expect you to return an email – for some introspection. Ask yourself – where does my personal leadership power come from? See what answers arise.

This post originally appeared on the Reclaiming Leadership blog. Check out my new self-service women’s leadership coaching website: InPowerCoaching.com.

Dana Theus

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