Over the years I've learned a lot about leadership, usually through my own missteps. In order to stay current and embrace the notion of being a lifelong learner, I've read (and continue to read on a daily basis) many articles, blog posts, and an occasional book to put in the effort to improve. I would hate to think that I come across as someone who has "figured it all out" and doesn't need to push myself to be contemporary.
Knowledge vs. Action
One of the most important pieces of my learning journey is that all of the books, posts, and articles in the world can not replace the most important part of leadership --> action. We've all heard many leaders talk a good game in the conference room or private office, but when it comes time for execution they wither and fail.
Why is it so difficult to take the next step and move from theory to execution? For me, it comes down to one basic competency that many leaders lack. They struggle so mightily with this one skill that they will do whatever is necessary to avoid stepping up and taking action.
The fear of confrontation is what stands in the way of good leaders becoming exceptional ones. The ability to look another person in they eye, decisively explain what the issues are, and move forward is a major stumbling block for so many.
Confrontation Builds Confidence
Something incredible happens when we take the next step and address issues in the workplace. Issues get resolved. I'm not being flippant here...I'm very serious. The team of employees around you is watching to see if you will handle the problems or not.
When you don't...when I don't...our credibility is compromised. After all, who wants to follow a leader who isn't willing to deal with the difficult issues?
That's why overcoming the fear of confrontation was so important for me early in my career. Is it easy to confront someone? No! Is it a pleasant experience? Absolutely not! Is it necessary if you are going to be a legitimate leader and not just an empty suit? Yes!
How About You
Which leaders do you see in your organization that are struggling with confrontation? Have you reached out to coach them, support them, and let them know that it is difficult but you'll be there to help them through it? That's our job after all, isn't it?
I'd love to hear from you.