Sometimes being a leader is a lot. Exhausting. Relentless. The fire fighting never stops. When you're in the c-suite or a top leadership position, there's an expectation that this is just part of the job. Your ability to perform under pressure is what's got you here, right?
The Illusion of Effectiveness
But here's the thing: we can often find ourselves in a place we like to call the "Zone of Delusion." It's where you think you're performing at a high level, but you're not being your best self. You're impatient, don't have time for others, don't listen, you're focused on your own priorities, cancel your 1-1s with those who need your support and can't take on any more problems. Sound familiar? This is what we call high self-orientation. And it's because you're stressed.
Here's the truth, my friends: constantly dwelling in the Zone of Delusion isn't effective at all. In fact, it has the opposite effect. This is the realm of shitty bosses and it's not where you want to be playing as a leader as it comes at a cost both to you and your relationships.
Lead by Example
If you're spending a significant amount of time in the Zone of Delusion, it's time to hit the pause button. Take a moment to reflect on the messages you're unintentionally sending out to your team. As a role model, your actions speak louder than words. So, ask yourself – or turn to a trusted peer – what you can do to reduce the strain and be honest about your own levels of resilience, the challenges you face, and the support you need.
Coaching, Support, and Resilience
Navigating the Zone of Delusion requires a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-management. It's about recognising when the pressure is becoming overwhelming and taking proactive steps to find your sweet spot. Coaching, both for yourself and your team, can be a game-changer. Seek support from trusted peers, mentors, or even consider working with an executive coach. Together, you can build resilience, overcome challenges, and thrive in your leadership journey.
Leadership is no walk in the park. We face immense pressure, and sometimes we can slip into the Zone of Delusion, where strain and burnout lurk. But here's the silver lining – by acknowledging this reality and taking intentional steps to find balance, we can become better bosses, role models, and advocates for our own well-being.
So, let's break free from the Zone of Delusion, embrace coaching, and create a leadership style that thrives with resilience and authenticity so we're setting a good example for others and showing up as our best selves.
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About the author:
Co-founder at Coachable
Executive Coach, Forbes Coaches Council member, Board advisor and facilitator with 22 years of experience in leadership and strategy roles. Now a coach to some of Europe's fastest-growing tech companies. Design lover. Mine’s a G&T.
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