What color is your superhero cape?

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

We all enjoy wearing our superhero capes at the office…have you thought about the stress that comes with the cape?

Superman and Wonder Woman are western cultural icons.  Who doesn’t fantasize every now and then about leaping tall buildings in a single bound or flying through the skies fighting injustice and spreading goodness?

 

Last week I spoke at a “lunch and learn” session for one of my favorite clients. We shared a lot of laughter and humility while diving into our Personal Leadership through The Seven Fs.  We also talked about how our Superman and Wonder Woman capes get in the way.

In full disclosure, I’m the first guy to admit that sometimes my Superman cape feels good! Speakers fancy their capes.  Although, in my work as an executive coach, I often find leaders who like their capes way too much. They don’t feel the extra weight until they let the cape slide off their shoulders.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Are you capable of flying by, barking orders and passing judgement? Happens to the best of us…

 

It’s understandable, we know leading by example is powerful in demonstrating our competence and personal credibility. But followers today don’t want their leaders to solve every problem. They don’t appreciate seeing our capes flap when we fly through the room, barking orders and passing judgment. Followers expect to be enrolled in shaping a vision, building the strategy and solving the difficult problems along the way.  Together.

Here are a few warning signals your cape may be getting too heavy:

  • Are you bemoaning an endless list of things “only I can do?”
  • Are you wondering why others aren’t accountable to your standards?
  • Do you wonder why people don’t understand your strategy?
  • Are your relationships strained?
  • Are you worried the office morale is low and personal energy is waning?

Maybe it’s time to take off the cape. Have you invited people to refine your plan recently? Do you have the courage to define “what” needs to get fixed, but not “how?”  When was the last time you asked: Where are the forces of momentum alive in your work, both positive and negative? Internal and external.

If you decide to let the cape slide off your shoulders a little,  consider asking people to be involved in your thinking. Listen, smile, laugh, engage, empower.  And while you’re at it,  memorize what it feels like to be a really good leader again.

Good leaders understand the job requires “leading by example,” while also listening, enrolling and empowering people. Good leaders make a habit of involving others in building plans and solving problems – without letting their Superman or Wonder Woman capes get in the way.

Drop me a note: who would benefit the most if you let your superhero cape slide off your shoulders more often?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

10 Comments

  1. lynch on January 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Great blog, Paul. Thinking like this is so critical for that “servant leadership” sort of mentality. 



  2. lynch on January 29, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Great blog, Paul. Thinking like this is so critical for that “servant leadership” sort of mentality. 



  3. Kate Schaefers, Ph.D on January 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Great post Paul. Reminded me of a CNN Money article about capes REALLY being used in the boardroom.  Here’s a link:
    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/09/27/capes-make-their-way-to-the-boardroom/
     



  4. Kate Schaefers, Ph.D on January 29, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Great post Paul. Reminded me of a CNN Money article about capes REALLY being used in the boardroom.  Here’s a link:
    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/09/27/capes-make-their-way-to-the-boardroom/
     



  5. Paul Batz on January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Lots of emails and comments on the Superhero cape blog today.  Thanks to Kate and Darin for their public comments below.  Keep em coming!



  6. Paul Batz on January 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Lots of emails and comments on the Superhero cape blog today.  Thanks to Kate and Darin for their public comments below.  Keep em coming!



  7. Chamagne Wiliams on January 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    My son would benefit.



  8. Chamagne Wiliams on January 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    My son would benefit.



  9. Steven Netsch on January 30, 2013 at 12:31 am

    It’s always good to remember that leadership is inspiration and management is barking orders.  To lead we must inspire!



  10. Steven Netsch on January 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    It’s always good to remember that leadership is inspiration and management is barking orders.  To lead we must inspire!



Leave a Comment