What is your leadership capacity this week?

Does this sound at all familiar?  You have a huge project due by the end of the month.  It’s not close to being done.  One of your key players for the project is either out on vacation or has been highly distracted by family issues lately.  You haven’t gotten 8 hours of sleep in several months, the resources that you count on to get work through the pipeline aren’t operating optimally and this project, well, it’s mission critical to your operations.

You need to lead this initiative to a high level outcome and are faced with diminished levels of capacity in the area of personnel, resources, and in some cases, skills because your key player is out, not to mention a limited time frame for delivery.  What do you think will determine the outcome you get?

Remember Captain Kirk from Star Trek yelling to Scottie down in the engine room, “I need more power Scottie!  Give me more power!”  Scottie is rushing around doing everything he can to give the ship as much power as possible.  After a period of time, he screams back up to Captain Kirk, “Captain, the engine is going to blow soon if we don’t back it down.”

You and your team cannot run at 100% of your emotional, physical and intellectual capacities 80-90 percent of the time without something eventually breaking down.  Regularly assessing your team’s, your organization’s and your capacities will allow you to maintain consistency and a culture and environment that is healthy and strong at all levels.

Here are some resources that you may find helpful in your capacity:

USE THIS MODEL:  Avery Santos posted an article that will help you measure your capacity as a leader.  It begins by defining leadership capacity as “A leader’s maximum leadership performance potential.”  You are bound by your skill, experience and motivation.

The four quadrants he examines are:

  1. A broad range of skills but limited experience
  2. A broad range of skills with extensive experience
  3. A narrow skill set with limited experience
  4. A narrow skill set with extensive experience

An important component to consider in this model is the character of the leader.  Avery suggests that if you are consistently frustrated with your team’s or your organization’s performance you might want to first examine yourself and your leadership capacity.

PRINT THIS:  This paper, authored by Mary Kay, Ph.D. & Robin Wood, Ph.D, focuses on developing leadership capacity.  They explain that, “As we move ever more rapidly into the future, we’re finding a major shift in the kinds of leaders that are emerging. In the place of chiefs, achievers, and authorities we’re finding more strategists, community builders, visionaries, and servants. This mirrors the shift in values of the baby boomers from modernists to cultural creatives. It also reflects generations x and y, who are now shaping the kind of leadership they want and expect as they move into leadership positions themselves. “

WHAT YOU NEED AS A LEADER:  Tony Schwartz in a Harvard Business Review blog posts notes 4 Capacities Every Great Leader Needs (And Very few Have).  They include:

  1. Great leaders recognize strengths in us that we don’t always yet fully see in ourselves.
  2. Rather than simply trying to get more out of us, great leaders seek to understand and meet our needs, above all a compelling mission beyond our immediate self-interest, or theirs.
  3. Great leaders take the time to clearly define what success looks like, and then empower and trust us to figure out the best way to achieve it.
  4. The best of all leaders — a tiny fraction — have the capacity to embrace their own opposites, most notably vulnerability alongside strength, and confidence balanced by humility.

Good stuff!  This is a great deal of information to consider.  These are powerful resources to print and use in some of your next development sessions with your leaders.  A suggestion might be to forward this to your leadership team and mention that you’ll discussing them and getting feedback from each member of the team in an upcoming meeting.

Easter is properly my favorite day of the year.  It reminds me of where I discovered hope and the fact that it is eternal.  May you, your family, team and organization be blessed with hope and inspiration each day.

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