Do You Believe It and are you Practicing It?
Everyone has leadership potential but not everyone uses that potential to its fullest measure. More often than not, it is because leadership, and I mean great leadership takes us on a journey requiring repetitive practice and an unwavering attitude towards changing our performance.
But is it possible to create new leadership habits? Research tells us that once old habits are burned into the part of the brain responsible for short term memory (the hippocampus) they are there to stay. We also know that over 75% of these permanent habits are negatively influenced as we grew up (don’t color outside the lines and don’t talk to strangers come to mind). New habits come from getting out of our comfort zone and reaching into our stretch zone – where true change occurs. If we focus on incremental and continuous change, what the Japanese call “kaizen” we then can manage the normal fear that comes with change. If the change becomes too great, the fear escalates to the point we enter the stress zone where the change may invoke a flight or fight response.
In a New York Times article earlier this year entitled “Can You Become Creatures of New Habits?” M. J. Ryan, author of “This Year I Will…” stated “I apprentice myself to someone when I want to learn something new or develop a new habit.” New leadership attitudes create new habits of thought to overcome the old habits embedded in memory to create effective sustained leadership. Apprenticing under someone else or being coached helps ensure the new habits are the right habits.
What new habits do you need to be a more effective leader?