Is a Polarizing Leader (maybe even you) Hurting Your Team’s Performance?

Polarizing may not be the term you use, but you know this person.

They are extremely good at something the organization needs — operations, digital media, sales —  and they are loved by a few.

At the same time, you are forever recruiting because of high turnover in their team, your HR office has become a revolving door of complaints, and productivity is down because certain people do almost anything to avoid this leader.

Maybe you suspect you ARE this person. You haven’t gotten fired, but despite accolades about your work product, you’ve definitely been passed over for a promotion that should have been yours.  

I’ve had a lot of polarizing leaders as clients, and here’s what they have in common:
  • They’re not aware of the problem. They are often praised by management that is willing to look the other way because they need this person’s unique abilities.  
  • They often have a powerful inner critic. It seems counterintuitive, but high performance and fragility often go hand in hand, and that leads to bad behavior.
I see HR professionals and senior leaders struggling with this dynamic every day. What’s the tipping point between a person’s talent and what they are costing the organization?

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In my work, I’ve successfully helped many polarizing leaders by:
  1. First focusing on their strengths and contribution. Once they get that they add value (not kidding), they breathe a sigh of relief
  2. Then, helping them understand the mechanics of the inner critic and how it impacts their performance
  3. Then, and only then, bring awareness to how their behavior can negatively affect others
  4. Then, to the surprise of many, understand how others’ inner critic meets their own to really take things to another level…and how to manage that in productive ways
  5. And finally, use mental fitness techniques to help keep them on track
I’m not saying that work has to be a popularity contest, but being easier to work with doesn’t either have to destroy a bright star’s brilliance. On the contrary, better behavior can lead to better collaboration, more balance and joy at work.  And much, much more productivity.

My best,

Tifin Dillon - Use Astrology for Your Leadership Style

Isabelle Steichen - Millennial Free Agent

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