How Compulsive Leaders Overcome Unique Challenges

Compulsive-Leaders-Overcome-ChallengesIt’s difficult for compulsive leaders to identify with feelings (their own or others’) and step outside their own perspective, but with training and coaching that focuses on relating to people, they can overcome unique challenges.

I’ve seen compulsive leaders experience an epiphany when they learn to value the power of engagement, accept that their success depends on other people, and master the relational aspects of working together.

Successful leaders know that if their people do well, their professional success follows. They understand that staff members are valuable resources who make the organization function optimally (and aren’t simply tools to be used to achieve desired results); they’re worthy of respect and appreciation. Compulsive leaders who fail to provide this consideration to all staff members drastically diminishes their value as resources.

Other key steps can help leaders reduce their compulsive tendencies and reconsider their values:

  1. Assess what constitutes real self-worth. Is it what you can gain for yourself, or is there more value in making a lasting contribution by developing others?
  2. Get in touch with your emotions and become more self-aware to enhance your leadership impact on others and the world around you.
  3. Accept people and their traits. Learn to work on a more relational level, appreciating what they offer rather than fighting it.
  4. Embrace failure and learn from it. Failure can offer the best lessons for future success. It’s not nearly as fatal as you once believed. It’s normal.
  5. Step back and make note of the responses you see when you enact the previous steps. You are strengthening your workplace culture.

Compulsive leaders need a new frame of reference. Benefiting oneself is a narrow, less meaningful purpose than the good one can do with and through others. Leaders who derive fulfillment solely from feeling good about themselves enjoy only temporary benefits. Building a legacy holds greater meaning.

Counsel for Team Members 

Compulsiveness is a tough trait to manage. It takes a special awareness and understanding to work with a compulsive leader. Staff can start by recognizing the compulsive personality’s fundamental traits.

Addressing a compulsive leader’s needs requires people to give their best (the appropriate goal, regardless of leadership type). Every reasonable effort should be made to complete assignments on time. Accountability is critical. Compulsive leaders greatly appreciate employees who own up to mistakes and offer solutions to correct them.

Wasting leaders’ time and slowing them down won’t help. Delivering needed information succinctly is important, as is alerting them early to any potential trouble. The aim is to find ways, in matters great and small, to help leaders succeed.

Compulsive leaders should not be pressed for a personal relationship, but reciprocating is a good idea if they make the first gesture. It’s wise to tread carefully and assess how personal the relationship should get. Leaders will respond to respect and appreciation, that doesn’t veer into sycophancy or manipulation.

As leaders work past their compulsive tendencies, tensions will ease and spirits will lift. Giving leaders positive feedback and thanks will enhance the transition even further.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474, if you’d like to discuss the unique challenges of a compulsive leader. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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