Raise Your Performance With A Strong Support Network

Michelle Obama once said, “when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. We listen to and lean on each other because we’re always stronger together.” When it comes to raising your performance and being your best, having the support of a trusted network of advisers, mentors, or colleagues is essential.

The reality of the leadership experience often differs from our initial perception of the role. When we imagine our future selves as a director, a chairman, or a CEO we may expect to see peers, or line managers out in force, enthusiastically cheering us on, and advocating for our success, but this is not always the case. There’s a loneliness that can creep in, especially for high-performing leaders in challenging corporate environments.

What makes leadership a lonely game?

Ascending the ranks, and making real progress requires the kind of decision-making that often puts results ahead of relationships, and over time, leaders that have called the hard shots may find that their advancement has isolated them from friendships and supporters. They might also have difficulty opening up to their peers or unpacking the contents of their hearts with the board or other stakeholders for fear of putting themselves at risk. This results in them having to deal with their challenges alone, in a closed and potentially harmful cocoon which could perpetuate imposter syndrome and other limiting beliefs.

One must ask… as high-performing leaders, are we destined for a life of loneliness? Or are there positive alternatives? And if there are, what do those alternatives look like? The answers to these questions tell us that high performance and leadership need not be a lonely affair, in fact, it can and should be a role that enjoys the deepest, most meaningful, and most inspiring relationships possible.

Leaders with access to support perform better.

Do you remember when you were young, and you had the support of your parents or family? Perhaps you fell or had a rough day at school. Remember how their wisdom, encouragement, and guidance helped you face life’s challenges with confidence. Now although you’ve grown up, and your difficulties have changed, the power of support remains the same, and as a leader, you deserve the benefits of a strong, trusted network of advisers.

Whether you seek a sounding board for heavy decision-making or someone to give you a tough element of truth that your peers are not willing to dish out, a bespoke circle of support creates the space for you as a leader to express yourself and engage in a way proven to bring the best out of you.

So how do we go about building a winning support network?

If trust is low or organisational politics make forging genuine connections tough, you’ll need to think outside the box to identify potential candidates. Alternatively, you may need to look outside your organisation. An external support network has its own advantages and might give you access to a vast pool of skill, wisdom, and inspiration not immediately available within your own workplace.

Coaching helps leaders create effective support networks.

Coaching offers the perfect opportunity for leaders to learn how to identify and set up supportive and enduring relationships. The process creates a secure space, promotes objective, solutions-oriented discussion, and provides a real-life example of the effectiveness of trusted support.

As a leading provider with 25 years of experience coaching leaders in blue-chip companies and government, Change Partners is perfectly positioned to help you advance.

Simone Le Hane is an International Executive Coach at Change Partners with a wealth of experience in coaching and mentoring. She’s passionate about helping leaders and organisations achieve their full potential. Contact her at simonelehane@change.co.za or on 082 555 2875 to help you reach new levels of performance.

References: Michelle Obama – “when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. We listen to and lean on each other because we’re always stronger together.” Quote from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25th, 2016. As posted by the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/26/transcript-read-michelle-obamas-full-speech-from-the-2016-dnc/

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