One of the things I have noticed when working with people in senior positions is that they can become worse and worse at asking for and getting the support they need the more senior they become. It’s like suddenly a belief kicks in that says:
“You’ve reached the top, well done and now you’re on your own!”
I’m pretty sure that expressions like “It’s lonely at the top” are born from this belief that now we have arrived we have only ourselves to rely. And when I delve deeper I find that it often comes from another belief that when you are the boss you must know more than everyone else and therefore it would be seen as a weakness of some sort to ask for help or support or , god forbid, admit that you don’t know something.
The reality however is somewhat different.
No matter what position we hold, we rarely know everything and as social animals, we need the relationships and interactions to function properly, to continue to grow and learn.
Another “reality” is that very often we find ourselves in leadership positions because either we have promoted ourselves to them – speaking to all you business owners out there – or because we have excelled at being technically competent in our jobs so we get promoted to a role where technical competence is no longer required and we now have to become excellent in other skills such as managing and leading people, motivation, engagement, delegation, feedback, etc., etc.
So how do you get the support you need, when you need it?
Well, this is how it goes:
Realise you need help or support in a particular area – I continue to be amazed by the number of leaders who only realise they need help well after the rest of the team has identified it! Listen to your team, be attuned to how you are feeling, your levels of stress, how easily or not you are achieving your goals.
Figure out what your desired outcome will be – so if you believe and now have evidence that you need help in changing your management style so that your people feel more empowered (for example!), take time to list out what you will see, hear and sense differently in your business when that happens. This way you will know when you have achieved it.
Find the best person to help you achieve it – not just any trainer, coach, mentor, consultant will be right for you. Once you know what you want as an outcome, take some time to find the person who not only has the skill set to get you there but someone who you also have good rapport and chemistry with. This will make those moments when you are challenged to do things differently, so much easier to take.
Commit to the change – once you have done this half the battle is won. Once you tell yourself what the result is that you want and you commit to it, you will already start making the necessary changes or finding the necessary information