Assess Your LEADERSHIP Quotient & Inner Game

In the Inner Game of Tennis, Timothy Gallwey ( a leading innovator in sports psychology)highlights how one can change the inner game to design the best results:

focus the mind to overcome nervousness, self-doubt, and distractions

• find the state of “relaxed concentration” that allows them to play at their best

• build skills by smart practice, then put it all together in match play

Great leadership is something similar where we need to do all this and stay agile to understand the landscape that we operate on. If we fail to assess the situation and the terrain our basis of functioning would let us down. It has more to do with character, courage and conviction than it does with specific skills or competencies.”

Leadership is not an affair of the head, it's an affair of the heart. For the majority of people to follow someone willingly, they want a leader who they believe is honest, competent, inspiring and forward-looking. A person who is source and force for good and progress for all.

Thus based on this premise, following are the key leadership inner-game qualities. While there are certainly more (and I welcome reader suggestions!) this is what came to me based on my experience in the industry and and also as an executive coach while observing my coachees...Please rate yourself on a scale of 1-5, 1 being you rarely practice them and 5 being you are unconsciously practicing them and also believe them to be your values and beliefs of life:

  1. Passion and positive energy

  2. Self-management, personal discipline and setting high personal expectations

  3. Authenticity, integrity and honesty

  4. Clarity in Purpose and vision

  5. Indulge in Courage and risk-taking

  6. Inculcating Self-awareness (including strengths and weaknesses)

  7. Selflessness and humility

  8. Emotional intelligence and mindfulness

  9. Flexibility and adaptability

  10. Competence and wisdom

  11. Intuitive, Patient and creative

  12. Self-confidence and Planning oriented

  13. Inspiring and Compassionate

  14. Forward-looking

  15. Decisiveness

If you feel you are not fully executing these ...Please read this as a potential growth opportunity.

I did some analysis of my own inner-game capacity, including seeking feedback from colleagues and completing various leadership assessment tools. I am strong in positive energy and courage, but could use more patient and effective planning oriented. So that gives me some areas to develop.

While all the items on the list are important, three are most critical. First is POSITIVE energy — I don’t think you can ever have enough! Employee moods may track those of the leader, impacting productivity and results. When I am having a bad day, I try to hide in my office to avoid infecting others with negativity.

Second is AUTHENTICITY! When leaders don’t communicate honestly, this undermines staff commitment and job performance. Research shows that only 40 percent of employees have a high level of trust in their management and organisation. Saying one thing and doing another, or not standing by stated values “when the rubber hits the road” are quick ways to undermine trust.

Third is SELF AWARENESS, understanding your own motivations and behaviours and how they impact others. This is foundational for high-level leadership. For example, recalling the prior example of losing trust, few, if any, leaders intend to do that, but a lack of awareness of how your specific actions can negatively affect the team can lead to that unfortunate result. With more self-awareness, leaders can avoid such serious pitfalls.

Developing as a leader is about continuous personal growth, including the courage to change. Asking yourself during your workday, “Am I in learning mode right now?” can be a powerful cue to maintain focus on your personal development.

Growing the inner game also requires an openness to seeking feedback from others, including peers, bosses and those you supervise. This can seem a bit daunting at first, but a willingness to learn what others see has the added benefit of strengthening relationships with your colleagues. Reflecting on your experiences, including what might work better in the future, is essential to growing your leadership inner game.

For further thought: Reflect upon your work and identify some strengths from the inner-game qualities list as well as a couple of areas that you could develop more. Think about how you can apply your strengths to building up the areas needing more development. Looking forward to hear more from you!

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