By Rachel Verlik, PCC. In my work with leaders — especially newer leaders — I often see a desire to hold onto technical knowledge and expertise very tightly. Of course this makes sense — this is what made you successful up until now! You’ve been rewarded and promoted because of your technical expertise and problem-solving skills, so why wouldn’t those same skills be needed now?
In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”
Moving into a leadership role can be vulnerable and unnerving, because leadership requires much more than technical expertise. Leadership is less about how much you know and more about how to ask the best questions to lead others to success. It’s about curiosity, asking for help, and recognizing we as leaders don’t always have all of the answers.
That sure does take courage and vulnerability. It also requires us to shift two sets: our skill set and our mindset. We have to learn these new skills, as well as adapt our perspective and stretch our comfort zone. And here is where we often dig in more strongly and cling to our being right, our “right” answers, when everything else feels a bit unsure. Yet the path to effective leadership is less about being right, and shifting more to getting it right.
This distinction between being right and getting it right arises from the work and research of Dr. Brené Brown in her book “Dare to Lead.” In the book, Brown discusses armored vs daring leadership. Armored leadership is how we protect ourselves when we feel vulnerable. At the other end of a continuum, daring leadership is the path towards courageous leadership. Being a knower, believing that the only value we bring to a team is what we know, is armored leadership. It can spur disconnection and less effective leadership. On the contrary, being a learner, being curious, asking questions, and leading others to getting it right — not having all the answers yourself — is the path to daring and more effective leadership.
In summary, some questions to consider… Which do you choose — armored or daring leadership? What might happen if you moved 10% towards daring leadership? What might be possible for your team, your business outcomes, your own self happiness? How can you honor your technical expertise AND be a learner and commit to getting it right rather than being right?
To learn more about developing your daring leadership skills and how executive coaching can help you thrive and flourish, schedule a consultation with Rachel.