Leading Without Comparing

pic-for-leaders-comparing

One of the toughest challenges for leaders is not looking over their shoulders to see what everyone else is doing. There seem to be so many overachievers on our teams and in our work worlds who can respond more quickly or communicate more loudly than we will ever be able to do. It can really grate on our nerves to constantly be worrying that a colleague or co-worker will come up with a better solution for an internal or external customer. But aren’t we all supposed to be in this together? So why does it feel like we are judging our success on how others perform?

Why can’t we lead without comparing? We can if we shift our mindset:

FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS AND GIFTS

It is so easy to dwell on our weaknesses and blind spots but we need to stop that negative behavior. No one on our team is perfect so swap out that thinking by identifying what you are most proud of.

  • Who asks you to be on their projects and why do they choose you?
  • What types of work do you often get recognized for?
  • If you could choose any assignment what would it be?

The answers to these questions may give you insight to your gifts.

RESPECT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF OTHERS

Just as we have valuable contributions to offer our colleagues and co-workers, so do our team members. That means listening to what each person shares and giving them a chance to excel. If we want others to recognize our suggestions and ideas then we need to honor theirs. I learned early on that I could grow from a co-worker’s expertise if I just took the time to be more open-minded and less judgmental.

DEVELOP YOUR OWN UNIQUE BRAND

Would you be able to describe your brand to someone? A helpful exercise is identifying and writing out a “brand statement”. Not only is it critical for leaders to be able to share with others what they stand for, but it is also so empowering to discover how we can help someone resolve their challenges. In a way it’s similar to creating a “pitch” with the added benefit of honoring how far we’ve come and where we are headed.

DUMP “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME” MANTRA

When we are impactful leaders we understand that we shine when we help others reach their highest potential. This concept is one of the hardest ones for new leaders to put into action because they were initially recognized for their individual accomplishments. In order to grow from that beginning position, leadership is all about developing relationships and cultivating future leaders.

  • Explore how you can partner with someone on a project
  • During a coffee or lunch ask a team member what they are interested in, both at work and outside
  • Learn a new skill or gain some insights from a procedure that a co-worker introduced
BECOME A TEAM SYNTHESIZER

Just like in an orchestra where all the instruments need to pull together to create magic, leaders need to stop comparing themselves to others and instead look for ways to harmonize. If we can lead by helping connect people together on a project, we will be elevating our team. Drawing on the many unique gifts colleagues possess, can ignite a workplace and transform a team.

How do you lead without comparing?

6 thoughts on “Leading Without Comparing

  1. Love the image of a leader being a team synthesizer. I’m brought back to my youth when they were a part of every band. It was the synthesizer that made all of the different parts come together to create a new sound. Competition only hears one instrument at a time but success comes when the pieces are working in concert.

    It’s hard not to compare sometimes but the truth is it doesn’t make us better but simply turns our energy in the wrong direction.

    Thanks, Terri. Will share!

    Alli

  2. You add some fantastic points Alli!
    1. Competition only hears one instrument at a time but success comes when the pieces are working in concert.
    2. It’s hard not to compare sometimes but the truth is it doesn’t make us better but simply turns our energy in the wrong direction.

    It is so true that only by working in harmony, drawing on the strengths and gifts of each person, that teams really succeed. And we de-energize ourselves when we focus too much on what others are doing. We would be so much more satisfied if we could recognize and play to our own unique strengths.

    Thanks for opening up the dialogue Alli!

  3. I really love the advise you give about focusing on strengths and gifts. Too often we focus on trying to improve a weakness but the most beneficial strategy that I have found is to keep improving our strengths while managing our weaknesses. No one can shine in every area and the time and energy spent on overcoming our weaknesses could be better spent on just rolling with the gifts we’ve been given…

  4. Studies have shown that it is a far wiser decision to focus on growing our gifts and strengths than dwelling on our blind spots. Our gifts will ultimately get us farther in our careers. In addition, when we cultivate our strengths we also build our confidence which is another way to overcome our need to compare ourselves to others.

    Thanks LaRae!

  5. Great post. Every point is imp, powerful and unique.
    Too much comparing & focus on others is not at all productive and useful.
    This is also the waste of time, resources and efforts.
    Many business leaders & organizations in the World are not at all following the doctrines (principles) highlighted in the post.
    Zafarmanzoor, Sr. Exec, Pakistan.

  6. You nailed it when you said: “Too much comparing & focus on others is not at all productive and useful.
    This is also the waste of time, resources and efforts.” It is time we look at our own strengths and drives and put them into action. We will lead the strongest when we play to those gifts.

    Thanks Zafar!

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