What is reality-based leadership?

Yesterday, we looked at the difference between confidence and ego.  Confidence is believing in ourselves and our capabilities.  Confidence is a very good thing.

Ego creates stories which let us off the hook, allow ourselves to look good, make us feel safe, or excuse our lack of action.   

An ego-filled workplace is one filled with drama, Cy Wakeman tells us in her book No Ego.

The really disturbing news?

Cy has conducted research across multiple sectors and a variety of jobs which shows the average worker spends 2 1/2 hours per day in drama and emotional waste.  

Ouch.

What is needed, Cy argues is a new approach to leadership. 

In many organizations, leaders are told their role is to inspire, to motivate, to direct and oversee, even to micromanage.

So, what’s wrong with that approach?

“First, people make their own choices about motivation and inspiration, so for leaders, it’s an impossible responsibility,” writes Cy.  “Second, the traditional management philosophies leaders have been taught to accomplish this impossible task actually engage and enflame the ego.”

Too often, Cy explains the traditional approach to leadership results is an environment that:

1: Feeds the ego

2: Tolerates dissent to non-negotiable strategic decisions

3: Fosters engagement without accountability

4: Coddles rather than helps grow team member’s readiness

5: Fails to encourage better mental processes through reflection and heightened self-awareness

There is a better way, she argues.

“The new leadership role becomes far less about managing and ‘making sure,'” Cy writes.  It relieves leaders of “the paternalistic burden of being all-knowing and overreaching.  They can cease shouldering the responsibility of coming up with all the answers.”  

Instead, reality-based leadership focuses on helping team members “learn to see clearly that their success, or lack of it, is not up to leadership or circumstances,” writes Cy. 

Leaders help team members interrupt non-productive thinking, reveal new truths, and settle the mind.

“Leaders are relieved of the responsibility for others’ choices and instead help people become experts at knowing and managing themselves,” she writes.

Reality-based leadership is “a simple approach, backed by science, using intentional mental processes and higher consciousness to reduce drama and eliminate emotional waste.”  

What are the tools leaders use to help their team members?

Answer: questions and conversations.

These are the primary tools leaders utilize to redirect thinking away from “perfecting circumstances” and encourage thinking about how to succeed in the circumstances that exist, a.k.a. reality.  

As team members learn to bypass their ego and get acquainted with reality, a shift occurs from “why can’t we” to “how can we make this work.”
______________________

Reflection:  Reflect on a recent situation involving “workplace drama.”  What role did ego play?  

Action:  Journal about my answers to the question above.  

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