Are you leading within your happiness? It’s a question you may not have considered, but one we frequently think about at VIM Executive Coaching. Most of us are taught from a fairly young age to live within our means, but what does it mean to lead within our happiness?
We have been thinking a lot about this question lately and what triggered it was a client who accepted a position that did not feel right to him even while he was participating in the first round of interviews. They expected him to act, be, dress and even sound like he was not. For example, rather a conservative dresser by nature, his first day on the job the senior vice president handed him a business card to a clothier he wanted him to see. That was just the start. It was never a good fit (and I am not talking about the flashy suit), and in time, our client was miserable.
Why did he accept the job in the first place? There was a lot of peer pressure involved; an acquaintance reached out to our client on Facebook telling him of an “amazing” opportunity within his company. He convinced himself he could not refuse.
What did we ever do before we had the social media to reach out to us? What ever did we do to find something meaningful before the job search engines?
When executives were truly mentored, there was a certain amount of compassion put into the process of helping others develop. It is not so easily done in this digital age. VIM Executive Coaching understands the need for mentoring and to give executives the skills to be more authentic.
“I’ve made a terrible mistake,” said our client. “How can I be certain I won’t do this again?” We gave him several important points for him to ponder before giving him the tools to be more mindful and happier in his career choices. We’d like to share those points with you.
- Don’t try to buy career happiness. No matter how much you make, it will not buy you authenticity, the ability to be more compassionate or to be a better leader. A good salary can be significant only if all other factors are right.
- Leading within benefits will lead you to a dead-end. Sleek offices, an amazing cafeteria, worldwide travel and the like, are “nice,” but they don’t compensate for a culture that is uncomfortable, mean-spirited, harassing or bullying. If you are not allowed to be yourself, or appreciated for being yourself, there are problems ahead.
- Don’t be misled by “stardom.” Don’t join an organization on the basis of big promises, unrealistic success stories, tales of “big players making it big” or a bunch of strung together buzzwords. If authenticity is lacking, it will lead to negative outcomes.
- Seek honesty. Sometimes we must face the fact that life isn’t perfect and that jobs aren’t perfect. It is far better to be part of a team that is challenged where everyone is rowing together than to be a-part from an egotistical group filled with infighting and dissension. While we can’t always foresee honesty, if we do enough diligence and reach out to people, we can learn a great deal.
- Nothing replaces genuineness. Companies and their managements have a reputation, a footprint if you will, that precedes them. It is difficult to fight against a tide of negative reviews and a poor standing among the competition or within the industry. Knowing there may be a negative perception and disregarding it by saying, “Yes but…” should be taken as a warning sign about your future with them.
- Don’t believe you can change a culture. This is a corollary to my point above. Our client might have understood that if nothing felt right to him even at the first interview, it probably would not have gotten better. He was not about to change an entire culture. We fully understand that if a person is out of work or wants to change positions that any new position might be temping. However, far better to turn down an opportunity than to try to be something you can never be.
- Care for yourself. Nothing can replace respecting yourself, and respecting the things you need to make you happy. To be an authentic leader, you need to be authentic within yourself.
Lead within your happiness. If you are to aspire to anything in an organization, aspire to be the best leader you can be.
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