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Coaching Leadership

An excessive need to be “me”

Be honest — how many times have you screwed things up or annoyed everyone around by thinking out loud, “that’s just the way I am!”? If the answer is “all the time, Sunil,” you and I know that we have a problem, don’t we?

Our faults, despite our conviction or our best efforts to rationalize, won’t ever become virtues. Trying harder will only help you establish yourself as an asshole in the minds of the most influential people in your life.

And if you’re a leader, let me tell you, this “need to be me” is certainly getting in the way of building positive, lasting relationships with your team. It sure is getting in the form of your success because of your inability to praise or give them positive recognition. Why? Because it looks “unauthentic” to you.

Yes, you’ve got high standards, and people might not meet them often. But if your standards have nothing to do with their best efforts, chances are they don’t even know what your standards are! Or worse, they think it’s unrealistic or unsustainable. And it’s idiotic to hold them accountable for such measures.

Understand that being a leader is service. It’s about your team. Not you. So, if they deserve positive recognition, the questions you often should be asking are:

1. Will it make people feel better? Yes.

2. Will they perform better as a result of well-deserved positive recognition? Yes.

3. Why the hell aren’t you doing it then? Because it wouldn’t be you?

It’s pointless to buy into your notion of being yourself and the need to be “authentic” versus what’s important to the people around you.

An exciting equation that Marshall Goldsmith came up with — less me + more them = more success as a leader. Remember this the next time you want to rationalize the need to be yourself.