We are each responsible for being the leaders of our own life.  We are in charge of both what we do and what we do not do. We also may choose to be leaders in our businesses or our community or our volunteer work. Do you find yourself facing any of these seven obstacles that keep you from being the leader you want to be? You can overcome these obstacles to leadership.

#1 Resistance to change

Ride the waves of change.  Hang on.  Be like a surfer, fall down and get back up.  Do fight change,  Ride the waves of change instead. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. The only thing that is constant is change, and change seems to be accelerating at a faster and faster rate. Remember that book, Who Moved My Cheese? Yes the Cheese, the way we do business and what consumers want is constantly changing.

#2 Lack of Awareness

Take off the blinders.  We only see what we want to see. Most unhappiness in the world is caused not being aware what is happening right now. What am I doing? What do I need to learn or to accept or to face to make this business successful? Leaders know their blind spots. Take off the blinders and be willing to see what is, especially if it isn’t pretty. 

#3 Not Accepting 100% Responsibility

It is much easier to blame others than to look at ourselves and to take responsibility for the outcome. As proactive leaders, we take 100% responsibility for what is and what happens and for our actions. Blaming others sets up a negative corporate culture (or a wretched home life or both.) The negativity and blame cause others to spend their time walking on eggshells while they look for another job instead of being creative and productive.  The buck stops here.  You are responsible for what happens at work, at home and in all areas of you life.  Don’t blame others.

#4 Failure to accept criticism

Surrounding ourselves with YES men – and women keeps us insulated and again away from the reality of what is. We can only see the world through our lens, our own point of view When we surround ourselves only with people who agree with us, it is like living life with blinders on. We don’t even have any idea how big our blind spots are. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid to say NO, people who challenge and encourage you to be your best.

#5 Failure to ask for support

No one is a self-made man – or woman. We need the support of others in all sorts of different ways to make our business work and to grow in our ability as leaders and entrepreneurs. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur or a corporate employee, you can find a mentor and set up your personal board of directors. We all need the support of others, ask for help, delegate, don’t try to do everything yourself.

#6 Know your strengths and weaknesses

Don’t try to do everything. It just drains your energy and keeps your business from succeeding. Yes, there are people who love to do what you hate to do. Those tasks that you procrastinate on, that you always put off. Find a way to delegate those tasks. What do you most love to do? What could you do all day long, love it and are excited that you get to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this state FLOW and that is where you want to spend most of your time as an employee, a leader or a business owner.

#7 Failure to appreciate

Most people function best when the ratio of appreciation to criticism is at least 5 to 1. That is five appreciations for every minor criticism. To thrive the ratio is closer to 10 to one. Appreciate a coworker, appreciate your son or daughter or your spouse. For appreciations to work they need to be specific, meaningful and heartfelt. “You’re the best employee ever” will fall flat. “Thanks for resolving that difficult situation yesterday with XYZ in a way that felt good for everybody at our meeting yesterday” feel quite different. People get it. They feel seen and heard and valued and who doesn’t like that.

We are each the leader of our own lives whether we are a volunteer, a family member, a friend, a corporate employee or an entrepreneur with our own business. Each day each moment we have the choice to choose what kind of leader we wish to be and the impact we want to have on others.  We can overcome these obstacles to leadership and be the kind of leaders we want to be.

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