Saboteurs! Before this class, I wasn’t aware of the term Saboteurs from a leadership perspective and how it could have such an impact on my leadership abilities. What I had assumed to be strength could actually be holding me back! That was a revelation that took a while for me to understand the why(s) and the how(s).
Reading about saboteurs in detail and taking the assessment available along with the 360 feedback, led me to re-evaluate my behaviors and be aware of my tendencies. My results showed that I am a stickler and a controller; followed by restless and an avoider. Additional detail about a controller mentions this need to take charge and control the situation – all based on anxiety level. This was somewhat of a surprise to me because I was unaware that I was actually anxious in these scenarios.
A stickler however was not so much of a surprise as it talked about the need for perfection and the thoughts of right is right and wrong is wrong. I notice myself here and there with this one; mostly after the fact and as such I am now trying to be more self-aware of such thoughts so I can realize it as it happens and change my behavior for the better. I also realized that I am more of a stickler with myself than others and this causes more frustration and anxiety which in turn can churn up my controller saboteur.
Upon thorough review of the 360 profile and a deep introspection of my crucible and life stories, I could understand where this behavior originated from and how I could be so unaware of my anxiety level that would let the saboteur creep in to save the day. Similarly, my need to stay busy all the time falls right in with the restless saboteur; I am constantly looking for something new. The revelation in this was that this was also an anxiety-based behavior; one that wants to escape from being present which could be dealing with the unpleasant thing happening at the moment.
Lastly, the avoider, I notice myself looking for ways to not deal with difficult and uncomfortable scenarios. Being more self-aware and catching myself in the act of such behavior helps me take steps to improve myself. For example, I started making a prioritized list of things to do on a daily basis. As I review this, I note the things I completed and those I did not. If I am putting some things off there must be a reason. Thinking about it helps me recognize my patterns and question my behavior thus leading me take that on first the next day.
Looking back now to some of the critical situation throughout my leadership journey, I realize clearly that it was an opportunity lost to empower and grow people and ultimately create leaders. Knowing that lot of my behavior is anxiety-based which is supplemented by the 360 feedback of my behavior leaning toward a reactive side helps me understand what I need to look for in myself if I am to improve myself as a leader.
Now I often see myself pausing and asking the question when I am able to catch myself early on, but in the event that I miss it I am having a daily or weekly self-reflection session to evaluate how I handled the situation. It helps me recognize the root cause of my behavior and understand what brought on the anxiety and if there is a better way to handle the situation. This momentary pause and questioning behavior has given me the ability to identify first, if the saboteur is in play and second, to get a handle on the situation in a better manner by being less reactive.
I have found a new way to channel my energy towards my goal of creating better leaders by first improving myself and becoming a better leader. As I continue to grow and create leaders I see myself creating stronger relationships with peers, bosses and employees where I can get open feedback and ultimately standing up a support system that will help me rise to the next level.