My certification in The Leadership Circle Profile in early 2016 required that I complete the assessment myself. I had been looking for an assessment for leadership team development that helped emerging leaders understand their leadership effectiveness and get a glimpse into who they are as a person. I had not found one until I took the Leadership Circle Profile.
Little did I realize it would take me back to my childhood.
I was never popular growing up. I always had a good set of friends, but in no way was I part of the “popular group” in grade school, middle school or high school. Searching for where I belonged and wanting to belong shaped my adolescence. I never thought these experiences as a child and teenager would impact my leadership effectiveness in my 30s. To my great surprise, they had a huge impact on my role as a leader.
When we become a leader, we don’t take off our “human suit” and put on our “leader suit.”
Assessment for leadership team development
Not only did The Leadership Circle Profile 360 assessment tool provide me with feedback on my leadership competencies, but also showed me – very clearly – the subconscious beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviors that were impacting my leadership effectiveness. This assessment brings the human side into leadership which is critical to full leadership team development.
As much as we try, we cannot separate our humanity from our leadership.
The assessment terms this human side your Reactive Tendencies
. I had two Reactive Tendencies that were almost equally high. One of them is called ‘Belonging’. It can be defined as,
“. . . you establish your sense of worth and security from belonging to the group and living by the norms, rules, and values of that group.”
Ahhh yes, this sounded familiar. My search for belonging.
This need for belonging served me well in my youth, to some degree. It helped me identify friendship groups and keep those friends. It served me well in my early work career as I was a solid team player.
I could argue how this Reactive Tendency did not serve me well in my youth, but that is a blog for another day. What became extremely clear is even if this need for belonging did serve me well throughout earlier parts of my life, it was no longer serving me.
How I was leading, in reality
As a leader of my own company, you may think that I set the norms, rules and values of my team based on what was most important to me. In a way, I did, especially in setting the philosophies in the way we work with clients.
Yet, in terms of cultural norms and rules, that was not the case. I searched to make sure I set the norms, rules and values so that my team members were happy.
Subconsciously, this seemed like a win-win. My team members were happy and I found that sense of belonging.
What was the reality, though?
My team members were happy, but I set the norms, rules and values of the company in such a way that I gave everything away from my compensation to my energy. In writing these statements, it does not seem to make sense.
Who would lead like this?
Who would set-up a company like this?
I was not consciously operating this way. This sense of belonging was subconscious. I was not aware of it. I did not know it was guiding me. This is what drives our leadership team development services!
And that is the truth of about our Reactive Tendencies. . . we are subject to them. We are not consciously aware of them yet their impacts are real.
My own leadership development
The Leadership Circle Profile brought to light – brought to my consciousness – how I was operating. It helped explain one large part of why I was so burnt out 3 years after building my team. And it put into perspective the comment a mentor made to me last year,
“You are too nice. You should be nice, but you are too nice. You are giving everything away.”
It showed me how some of my beliefs, ideas, and behaviors were impacting my effectiveness as a leader, my effectiveness as a business owner, my ability to feel whole in my life.
I would love to tell you that once I was made aware of this information, I was able to completely change all of my thoughts, feelings, behaviors overnight.
But I can’t. That is not how leadership team development works.
Instead, I was able to take this insight, create some small goals to work on this behavior, test out my new behaviors and evaluate them. Sometimes I made strides forward and sometimes I found myself reverting back to old behaviors.
It is progress. I am continuing on my leadership team development journey.
We all get in our own way in terms of reaching goals, leadership effectiveness, owning our career, finding fulfillment, etc. I identified a few ways that were holding me back. I hope you can as well. Even though the work is hard, the payoff to your work and life can be immeasurable.