CEO Coaching: 15 Years of Bad Practice

After many years of doing a weightlifting maneuver called a “clean,” I got one almost right. For most of this period I blamed my poor cleans on genetic issues. “It’s my mother’s fault!” But the coaches at my current gym won’t listen to my excuses and are correcting years of bad practice; 15 years of bad practice.

I often encounter leaders who have 15 years (or much more!) of bad practice. Because they never had a good mentor, boss, or coach, they developed deep “muscle memory” with the wrong behavior. Some of these deeply flawed leaders know it, many don’t. Are you one?

If you’ve never worked for someone who was well regarded as a manager and leader, you might be a deeply flawed leader. What you know as “normal” leadership behavior is not good. 

If you haven’t spent your career learning about the science and art of management and leadership (e.g., through reading, training, coaching, practicing the correct behavior), you might be one.

If you haven’t routinely gotten feedback from those who work with you (direct reports, peers, bosses) you may be a deeply flawed leader. Breathing your own exhaust is dangerous.

If you avoid giving feedback, communicating with your people, facilitating discussions, and creating an inspirational environment, you’re a deeply flawed leader and shouldn’t be in a leadership role.

If you’re unwilling to listen to feedback and make changes in your behavior, you’re certainly a deeply flawed leader.

How long will you continue being one?

Exceptional leaders do their best to delight customers, optimize profit to shareholders, and bring joyful employment to coworkers. A former Marine Commandant once said, “The most important thing we do is make Marines.” The most important thing exceptional leaders do is make more exceptional leaders. Be one!

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