Insecurity can be the Enemy to High Leadership IQ
Now, let’s talk about what gets in the way of high Leadership IQ. Often it’s insecurity. It is normal to have insecurities, but it’s not normal to allow these insecurities to drive behavior. When the business leader’s insecurities are driving the business, the employees will typically respond by monitoring their own behavior to keep the boss happy. These behaviors might include, but certainly are not limited to:
1. saluting you even when they disagree
2. telling you what you want to hear to protect you and them from more stress or job loss
3. avoid reporting bad news to ensure you don’t blow up
I worked with a COO who was asked by the CEO to begin looking for someone else in the company he could pass on his knowledge. The COO did not understand the request and immediately assumed something negative. He wondered if they were getting rid of him or if he had done something wrong. Neither was true; the CEO was simply looking down the road and seeing growth coming, while realizing that he needed to prepare the team for that growth. The COO felt insecure when asked to pass along his knowledge.
The high Leadership IQ leaders are in a constant state of empowering others by passing knowledge along to key players so when the time comes for growth, they can point to the person who can replace them as everyone goes through changes in roles or promotions. On both accounts, a potential growth point for the CEO and COO could be to elaborate on special requests for executive team members so no one is left guessing. Also, asking clarifying questions when a request seems like a puzzle piece rather than the whole picture, respectively speaking.
Let it Begin with Me
As leaders and co-leaders, taking proactive steps by empowering one another with ample time to communicate around important exchanges is critical. The old adage “tell ‘em, tell ‘em what you told ‘em, tell ‘em again, and finally tell ‘em what you told ‘em again” can be a helpful guide for effective communication within a company. Except in our situation, we ask them, ask them again and then ask them one more time to ensure everyone is on the same page.
If you sense you have reached a ceiling of complexity in which the company doesn’t seem to be able to grow – I humbly suggest you look not to market share, product development, organizational structures. First, examine how often your behaviors fit in the low or high IQ Leadership list and start there. Too often business owners blame employees for poor performance, when the issue resides with the business owner’s struggles. Nothing wrong with the struggle. However, grave damage can happen in professional and work relationships when leaders operate in denial, avoidance, gaslighting, projection and blame shifting.
Finally, here’s a question from the book Scaling Leadership:
What is the one change you could make in the way you lead that would unlock your leadership and take it to the next level? Scaling Leadership
High Leadership IQ means developing yourself and developing your ability to increase the capacity of your people. When you elevate your Leadership IQ, you build into people and build up a business that will last and live beyond where you are now. That’s important especially in these uncertain times. If you were called away today, could your business run successfully without you? Is your answer yes? Well, congratulations! If the answer is no, or you are not sure, let’s consider having a conversation.
In my experience, I have seen that it IS possible to make it a strong yes without hesitation.