Almost all leaders go through a phase in their career where they feel demotivated, uninspired, lost and not on top of their game. This could be triggered by various internal and external reasons like lack of stimulation in their roles, misalignment of their goals versus the organization’s goals, resistance to unlearn and relearn, personal factors, and so on. If this phase is not addressed, it has a negative impact on the leader, his or her team and the organization. An uninspired leader cannot inspire others.
The purpose of this book is to give a name to this phase—leader’s block— and to help leaders recognize and acknowledge these patterns, and work on overcoming this phase and preventing derailment and burnouts.
Read what leaders have to say about their experiences of leader’s block.
- Karen, senior manager of a boutique risk consulting firm shared, ‘It was the time when I was really frustrated in my job and wanted to get out of it somehow, and when my prospective employer came with a fancy designation and lucrative offer I couldn’t resist. Looking back, that was a temporary fix, as that decision was not made with the right mindset or frame of mind. And I do regret it!’
- ‘I think my combative nature was probably new to me. I was not only defensive but also combative at work. It was one of the few times in my career when I took home very negative feelings. What you take home are the things you talk about, and if what you are talking about is all negative, you build up a significant amount of animosity towards the individual and environment.’- Frank, the executive vice president of a midsize energy company in Europe
- ‘It was not my usual style and the team expected me to behave as per my reputation of a fast executor. I was more circumspect during this time and there was a little uncertainty for everyone.’- Nancy, a senior leader at a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company.
- The product head of a big technology major, said, ‘I feel that some of the structures or approaches that I took and some of the messages that I delivered were not allowing those around me to succeed, and it really stifled creativity; it became all about executing a plan and not about achieving excellence in the business. It created a culture where we were managing expectations versus excelling, not being transparent about our business and not being inclusive about how we managed our business.’
- ‘Honestly, I think externally nothing is visible, my team doesn’t see anything, they see me as engaged and focused, but that’s because this is a practised skill. The dilemma is inside, it’s all internal to me, and I wonder how much I am challenging myself intellectually and how much I want to learn something new. I feel like there’s a strong yearning in me to learn new things,’
- ‘The big disconnect was that I didn’t feel I was trusted or valued for my contribution. I felt that instead of positive reinforcement, there was more of a fear factor that was instilled in the relationship around performance. Those things, over time, drew energy away from me, and my inspiration and my commitment to my job at the time was probably less than optimal.’
- ‘My new role had a lot of personnel challenges where we performance-managed people. It’s never easy to fire someone. Even if you have done it before it’s hard. But if you haven’t done it before, it feels almost impossible. I had to make business decisions which had a direct and significant impact on the business and the people. That got me very nervous. I was leading a division of 300 people and the feeling of being watched closely was quite overwhelming! I started to doubt myself and felt totally blocked.’
- ‘My internal talk was am I being too neutral, am I not taking a stance? It was like my confidence was shaken. I also knew that I didn’t have the cover from either of my bosses, so I was constantly convincing both of them about what I wanted.’
- ‘I couldn’t believe I was doing this—I was snoozing my alarm a couple of times every morning and would refuse to get up till my wife would literally pull the covers off. My wife started to get worried; she thought I was not well. It felt like the days when I didn’t want to go to school. You wouldn’t think you would hear this from a senior vice president of a multibillion-dollar company.’
- ‘I felt as if one of my bosses was waiting for me to fail, so I had to constantly prove otherwise. I became quieter and more cautious as I didn’t want to be proven wrong, I was not being myself. It was affecting me personally, my confidence was shaken. I was afraid to try new initiatives or take risks as I didn’t want to fail.’
Identify when you are getting into Leader’s Block and learn how to break out of it in Ritu Mehrish’s book, Leader’s Block!