Today, leaders at all levels of an organization are experiencing unprecedented change. They are inundated with disruption to the markets, business model, work from home scenarios, employee productivity concerns, employee discontent, video meetings galore, and far too many emails. As an executive coach, I work with senior leaders while they navigate the fade in their unique level of enthusiasm. For most, it is a slow fade exhibited by fatigue and frustration and for others, it becomes an emotional journey. When your enthusiasm dissipates, the people around you might see a decision-making process that is new, a shift in how you progress toward your goals and a quiet restlessness that permeates throughout your day.
I have seen one or more of the following patterns emerge when enthusiasm fades:
Talking and Listening
Leaders are considered to be first-class communicators. Seasoned leaders will listen to others and even solicit the opinions and views of trusted voices to gain many perspectives. That said, being a first-class communicator does not mean “first-class talker”. Unless you are asking thoughtful and relevant questions, you will not have a balance between talking and listening, the latter being the preferred activity.
Emotion and Passion
Leaders are people of passion yet they carefully keep their emotions in check. When enthusiasm fades, a leader can come face to face with the raw feelings of anger and or frustration. Acting on these feelings can have an unexpected downside for you and those around you. If this is you, remember that your emotions should empower your passion. Therefore, adjust your focus back to what you are passionate about.
Bias Toward Action
Bias toward action is a combination of a willingness to take initiative, act boldly and accept risk. If there are barriers to bold thoughts and actions, you may be taking action for the sake of it or you may choose to take no action at all. Think about the what and how. If barriers take hold, a negative impact will impede performance areas that matter to you the most. When these begin to falter, revisit your business strategy. Bias to action serves you best when it is strategically focused.
There is a time to drive the business forward and there is a time to pause, look and listen. You may be accustomed to working at a high-rate of speed, however going one hundred miles an hour all the time doesn’t allow you to look around, check your direction, gather new information, and re-energize. Eventually, the quality of your output will suffer. To reduce the impact, you must be disciplined to know when to move forward and when to step back.
When the enthusiasm for your work fades, rather than go-it-alone, work with your professional coach to get yourself back on track. Leaders, in any field and at every level, need someone outside of themselves who they trust and who can be objective. A good coach will challenge your thinking and hold you accountable as you unlock your leadership capacity and unleash your potential.
If you do not have a coach, our professional coaches excel at working with leaders regardless of where they are in their unique journey.