Guest Post by Ruth Schwartz
Six business owners sit around a table.
John asks, “ Why don’t I accomplish those tasks that I have agreed to accomplish? Month after month, I know what needs to be done and yet, I am not doing them?”
Ron says “Delegate it.”
John reacts, “But I can’t. If I don’t understand the steps, and practice them until I get the results I want, I can’t ask anyone else to do it.”
“Why Not?” I ask. “Surely they can also figure it out.”
“They might not want to do it.” Sue says.
“There is no time to organize, and train someone else to new tasks. “ Craig states.
“It looks like I am unwilling to do it myself.” Faye answers.
“They won’t do it right” Ron states.
“It makes me look bad if I don’t understand all of the skills required to complete the task.” says John.
Wow, I think. These thoughts enslave not only these business leaders, but everyone that works with them.
“ I wonder what your employees would say if they could hear you. What do you really mean when you say those things? What is the thought behind the thought? “ I ask.
“If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.”
“They don’t do it as well as I do.”
“I need to show my workers that I am willing to work as hard as they are working.”
“I look stupid if I don’t understand everything.”
“I won’t deserve my income.”
“They may not like me.”
My jaw drops as we sink deeper and deeper into the cesspool of unharnessed limiting beliefs. These comments are coming out of the mouths of successful business owners. It took months of meeting and getting to know each other to become quite this honest with each other.
These are The Golden Handcuffs.
I too have felt a tremendous sense of guilt if I sat at my desk seemingly immobile while I demanded that they – my employees- work their tails off for the good of the company. When would they figure me for the fraud I think I am?
What’s important for any business person who feels trapped, who feels enslaved by the golden handcuffs is the shift you must take in your own thinking. You must move from thinking about being successful and about all that you must do (overwhelm!) and start to think about how you can help another person be successful and allow them to do it. This is the critical shift we make when we decide to lead instead of manage other people. And it is the Key to the Golden Handcuffs.
The first step is to be very clear about who you are and where you are going: also known as: your mission and your vision. This may not be as easy as if sounds. You will have to think deeply, or even rethink deeply about why you are on this planet and what you plan to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it does need to totally resonate with who you really are.
Here are some great ones I’ve heard: “We are the trustworthy guides in a complicated and changing landscape.” “We are the most accurate when accuracy is required.” “We change the lives of all the people we touch by creating calm.” ” We put the puzzle together so our clients don’t have to.” “We conduct the orchestra of diverse players.” “We are a conduit of great ideas.” “We get the money so that you don’t have to.” “We change to world by supporting artists.”
Secondly, if you want to be a true leader, you will soon realize that you cannot accomplish your life’s purpose alone. You need other people to travel with you, and you will have to explain your purpose so that they can chose to travel with you or not. You may have to tell people your purpose over and over again. Their success depends on completely absorbing and understanding your purpose, so much so that it becomes theirs. There should be no ambiguity. They can only be successful when they can answer the questions “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?” Of course, first you need to answer those questions for yourself.
Lastly, once you have clearly communicated your mission, vision and purpose, your role will start to change from a manager of people to a visionary and a coach. Start to spend more time blazing the trail, designing systems, and coaching. By definition, coaching means that you ask great questions, think strategically, and allow others to find solutions. You will have to stop managing everyone and everything. This type of leadership can happen anywhere and at any level. It is respected and valued. Ask anyone.
Here is where a business, leadership coach together with a mastermind group can help:
Think about and develop your clear and compelling purpose. Create habits and rituals that support both your purpose and your new role as a leader. This path, as with all worthy paths, is fraught with temptations to step back into your comfort zone. You can’t always see your own beliefs and what is preventing you from moving forward. But with accountability and insight from a coach and a peer group, you will free yourself from your handcuffs and when you do you will free everyone else around you. Developing this focus will help you eliminate everything that isn’t truly creating success and moving you toward your vision. Most importantly, you will not be alone.
Loneliness is the friend of overwhelm. Togetherness is its enemy. Leaders create togetherness.
About Ruth Schwartz (in her words): I am an internationally certified coach through the International Coaching Federation, trained by the Academy of Coaching and NLP. I am a facilitator of peer advisory mastermind groups and I own the management development and marketing company High Performance Advocates.
You can visit her site here.