Robert Hartley is the Head Coach of the Calgary Flames. A rookie member of the Flames had a great game and scored his first NHL goal. Asked by a reporter if he was happy for that player’s big night, I recall him responding: Of course I am happy for all of my players when they have a good game, but I am never satisfied!
Do you know when I feel satisfied?
When I am all fat & full and sleepy after a huge turkey dinner.
I was always happy for my team members when they closed a big deal, nailed a project, or just had a great day. I drew great energy from their enthusiasm and loved to see them grow & bloom. But I was never 100% satisfied because I knew they could always do more and do better.
I knew that the seeds of complacency would be sown by allowing myself to be satisfied with their accomplishments. That is the path to becoming the ultimate mediocrity.
If a person or department seems to be running on autopilot, then a curse of satisfaction & complacency has set in. As every aspect of business is a work in progress, you and your team should be continually looking to improve performance, learn, find self-improvement, do things better, and improve skills and abilities.
Great leaders embrace the process of discovery by never giving up the quest for information. They control their destiny so that no one else controls it for them. They are never 100% satisfied as there is always room for improvement.
Here are seven indicators to show you when You shouldn’t be satisfied with your leadership:
- Nothing is being changed. Leadership is about something new. It’s about change. If nothing is changing — you can do that without a leader.
- No paradigms are being challenged. Many times the best change is a change of mindset — a way we think. Leaders are constantly learning so they can challenge the thinking “inside the box.”
- You’re not asking questions. A leader only knows what they know, and many times, the leader in the last to know. A significant part of leadership is about discovery, and you only get answers if you ask questions.
- There are competing visions. Leaders point people to a vision. To a crystal clear & singular vision. One of the surest ways to derail progress is to have multiple visions, as this divides energy & people and confuses instead of bringing clarity.
- No one is complaining. You can’t lead anything involving worthwhile change where everyone agrees. A sure-fire measure if people are being led if there is if people are complaining. We knew there was a problem in the Army when the soldiers went quiet and weren’t griping.
- People aren’t being stretched. Understand well; a leader should strive for clarity. But, when things are changing and challenging, there will always be times of confusion. That’s when good leaders get even better at communicating and listening.
- People being “happy” has become the goal. Everyone likes to be liked. But, the end goal of leadership should be accomplishing a vision — not making sure everyone loves the leader. Progress hopefully makes most people happy, but when the goal begins with happiness, in my experience, no one is ever really made happy.
Keeping a laser-like focus, all the time, on your objectives and never drifting from the big picture is key to extraordinary leadership …, not satisfaction.