Leadership Rehab

I used to have a boss who had some pretty bad habits.

He used to always turn up late for meetings. Regardless of the agenda of the meeting, he used to turn up with a personal (and hidden) agenda that was never made clear. If I started talking about something unrelated to his agenda, he would nod his head quickly and just say, 'yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,' in a totally bored way.

He was exhibiting cock-like behavior and, even though I gave him feedback so that he was aware of the impact of his behavior, his view was that these leadership 'ticks' were just a part of who he was and, as he was so successful, they had obviously served him well.

Now I believe that he was an extreme case. However, we all pick up bad habits as time goes on; it is part of human nature. In fact, the more senior we become and the more stripes we earn, the easier it is to lose awareness of our impact on other people. CEOs rarely get honest and useful feedback as their immediate circle of colleagues often fear it may be career limiting to highlight their boss' flaws. It also takes a particularly groovesome CEO to truly encourage criticism.

We also pick up bad habits by having increasing demands on our time and therefore we often short-cut anything that isn't essential in our view. Unfortunately, those non-essentials are often the human aspects of leadership and they include setting up interactions well, taking time to hear other people's views, expansive group thinking, kicking about ideas and injecting some fun into what we do every day.

We can become too transactional and by doing so we are naturally losing our shine.

Because of all this, I am a great believer in regularly going to leadership rehab.

This is a process by which we re-engage with who we really are, what is most important to us in life and what makes us unique and special.

It's so easy to lose sight of these important things when we get busy and the pressure is loaded on. Ironically though, if we truly connect with these things we will find that we can deal with those pressures almost effortlessly.

This should be the number one priority for every leader in every organization because when we get our 'Mojo' back we will resonate so much more effectively in everything we do and therefore increase our impact by multiples instead of mere fractions.

In order to go through leadership rehab you need to create the space and the time. It is not an intellectual exercise but a holistic one.

We must dig deep and ask ourselves why we should give a damn, why we should jump out of bed every morning loving what we do and how we will know that we have had a great day.

We must immerse ourselves in direct one on one feedback with all those people that we touch on a daily basis and find out how we are doing, what it is that makes us who we are and what it is that we can do even better. By doing so we will get a clearer picture of our brand and how to accentuate the aspects of it that create extraordinary impact.

We must clear our minds of all the day-to-day distractions and re-attune ourselves to doing what counts and not to what 'shouts' the loudest.

I first went to leadership rehab when I realized I was not being myself any more, but a pale imitation of what I thought 'professional' looked like. That was 20 years ago and over that time I have continually revisited who I am as a leader, my motivations to keep driving and growing and what it is that helps me shine brightly in this world.

It's what keeps me energized and excited and always pushing at my own boundaries. We, as a company, now spend almost 50 percent of our time helping leaders from a multitude of organizations to do the same.

The process is liberating and at times a little painful, but every time someone's heart is opened to the experience, they leave with shiny eyes and a rediscovered belief in the forgotten fact that they are perfect. They all have everything they need to be an incredible creative leader, and after leadership rehab they will have remembered that they are amazing and then everything they do will have a different quality.

The world needs incredible leaders right now so check yourself into rehab and when you come back out you will have a lot more Elvis going on.