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Volume 1, Issue 27

How to Get out of a Leadership Rut

Some managers can get comfortable playing things safely and stop investing in their own personal growth and development. They, essentially, become a leader in title only. Sound familiar?

Mike Wyatt, a leadership adviser to chief executives and boards, recently wrote a blog entry for Forbes outlining several ways managers can stop settling and free themselves from a leadership rut.

"All of us at one time or another experience the signs of boredom," he writes. "Here's the thing—boredom is a state of mind. The difference between real leaders and leaders in title only, is what they do when the creative juices begin to dwindle. Feigned leaders accept the status quo, and real leaders see the signs of boredom as the precursor to needed change."

To get out of a rut, Wyatt recommends the following:

  • Go break something. Try changing the landscape at your office by shifting existing roles and responsibilities or by bringing in fresh talent. Wyatt further advises, "Slaughter a few sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, break a paradigm and invest a little chaos into your ordered world." This, he says, will help drive innovation, lead change and create growth.
  • Recharge your brain. The brain is like any other energy source; it needs to be nourished to evolve. "Whether you stimulate your brain through basic learning activities like reading, taking classes or participating in workshops or seminars or just by giving it some well needed rest, the important thing is to make a concerted effort in this regard," he says.
  • Get some help. "Leading in isolation is dangerous," Wyatt writes. He encourages managers to surround themselves with wise counsel and start making a habit of seeking out sound advice—seeking guidance from family, a peer group, a coach, an advisory board or a mentor.
  • Have a vigorous debate. Seek out dissenting views and differing opinions. This will open the mind to new ideas and perspectives, Wyatt writes. "Don't be afraid of being proven wrong—be afraid of thinking you're right when you're not," he adds.

This article is from the Jan. 16, 2012 issue.

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Strategic Talent Management

March 28 - 30, 2012
Chicago, Ill., United States

Challenging times call for creative solutions. Explore how, in the face of increasing competition, institutions are devising creative, thoughtful strategies and highly effective activities and initiatives to attract, retain and grow the very best teams.