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Leadership Sabotage

Self Sabotaging Images with HB pencil

“Kyle” was maxed out, stressed out, and ready to get out. As a project manager in a high stress environment, Kyle struggled to keep a grip on everything he was responsible for overseeing. His team presented a host of challenges for him to navigate. He had recently been promoted to a manager position, and he was struggling to establish himself as a leader.

Like many promoted into leadership or higher positions, Kyle had been really good at his previous position. He had established himself as a reliable expert who could get the work done. His competence and expertise had been what got him noticed and tapped for a promotion. The challenge - Kyle now had to lead people. As an expert in his previous position, he was used to just getting the job done – not getting the job done through others.

It seemed that no matter how clear Kyle was on his expectations, his team members didn’t seem to get it. He said he was trying to empower them and build a sense of teamwork, but he didn't believe his team had his back. “They don’t support me. I think my team wants to see me fail,” he said with a heavy sigh.

But from the team’s perspective, Kyle’s approach didn’t resemble empowerment or teamwork, by any stretch of the imagination. Kyle said all the right things about collaborating, and supporting each other as a team, and seeking input from the team and all, but his actions didn’t align with his words.

“He criticizes everything we do. Kyle tells us to take ownership of our projects, then he swoops in and takes over. If we disagree with him or suggest a better way, he gets angry and defensive,” lamented several members of Kyle’s team during his 360 review.

Kyle was engaging in self-sabotage. The beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors that had been strengths for Kyle as an expert individual performer, now worked against him. His go-to strategies for success up to this point were failing him miserably in a leadership position.

Many professionals establish a solid name and reputation for themselves as key players on a team, and then they find themselves in a leadership position and the wheels fall off the bus. Success as a Leader requires a very different set of competencies than those required of individual contributors.


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