Leading your team too gently? Being Mr Nice Guy makes sense – after all, you want to be liked, right? You want everyone to be happy at work and get on well. (Sounds familiar to me.)

So, your inner voice in the back of your head (some call it your saboteur, chimp or lizard brain) tells you not to voice your disagreement – to just go along with your colleagues and things will be ok. Don’t stick your neck out, don’t rock the boat  – you might be wrong and then you’d be exposed. Of course, that would be foolish.

So, this fear holds you back, stopping you from expressing your opinions, your great ideas. You act conservatively; you follow the rules of the organisation; the way things are done. You try to fit in and be liked.

Thing is, you know you’re holding yourself back. You know you can do more. (And boy, it’s so tiring!)

Wouldn’t it be better to be in tune in with your authentic leadership style, to stand strong, lead with creativity, integrity, vision, and bring out the best in people? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to demonstrate genuine leadership that gets noticed, leadership that rises to the top?

Just think how much more could be possible?

How much Mr Nice Guy are you?*

What assumptions are you making up about yourself? What are you telling yourself you need in order to feel safe? When I’m executive coaching around this topic, we work on these four key areas (amongst others):

  1. “Am I too conservative?”. Do you think too conservatively, maybe follow the rules of your organisation a little too closely? What’s the cost of following this?
  2. “Do I feel the need to please?” Do you need to seek out others’ support and approval in order to feel worthwhile? Do you need the validation and confirmation from others to feel secure? What’s the cost of needing this?
  3. “Do I need to feel a sense of belonging?” Do you need to conform, follow the rules and meet the expectations of those in authority? Do you have a strong urge to fit in and be liked? What’s the cost of this need?
  4. “Am I too passive?” Do you give away your power to others or to circumstances beyond your control? Do you feel you lack the power to create? And again, what’s the cost?

Too complying?

If you find yourself being too conservative and too passive, with strong needs to please and belong, then that could mean that your leadership is too complying. You may get a strong sense of self-worth and security by complying with the expectations of others rather than acting on what you want, on your inner wisdom. These self-limiting inner beliefs and assumptions will limit your leadership effectiveness and authentic expression.

If your leadership style has a high degree of compliance, then faced with leading your team, ask yourself:

  1. Are you noticing any of those four characteristics (conservative, pleasing, belonging and passive) in yourself?
  2. What do they feel like? How do you know you’re feeling that?
  3. How is this leadership approach impacting your team? How are they reacting?
  4. What would a more authentic, courageous leadership style look like?

Want to improve your leadership?

If you’re looking for support around developing your leadership, then contact me about leadership coaching. We’d use the Leadership Circle Profile tool to assess your leadership competencies, underlying deep-seated limiting beliefs and assumptions, and leadership style. Going to the source of the behaviour to get greater leverage on change, means the coaching would start at an advanced level, thus enhancing the value of the coaching and saving time.

*With thanks to the Leadership Circle Profile.